My parents are not particularly readers. My father reads an occasional book once in a while. My mother seldom reads. Neither does my brother. I’m the odd one out in the family, who spends time reading poems and stories before bedtime. Neither do I have many friends (like at all, except one at this point of time) who read and write, consuming themselves in the process. Consuming so much that they are no longer attached to the impressions that come from the world, only to the ones that come out of the story — meaning that, they are not able to focus on anything else. It’s like they lose their minds while reading. We. This is why reading is called an escape. You can’t do anything else but read when you do. Otherwise you can’t read.
I mostly write to show to myself, with occasional generous people who find time to read stories and give their feedback. But that is rare, because most of my poems and stories are kept to myself. Why? Because I want to constantly improve them and publish them. Sharing them up with online acquaintances and people on social media is a dead end, at least for me. For starters, my Facebook activity is so dead, that every time I’m tempted to open Facebook out of habit of doing it every 2 minutes, I’m reminded that there is not going to be anything there anyway. So why even do it?
And also because if I post anything online, I stop working on it, because social media gives me this false proof of validation that people read it, liked it, and that that should be it, the work is done. This happens even when I’m aware of it. That is what addiction is. So nowadays, I don’t publish on social platforms, I write everything in my notebooks. I’ve tons of them. First I was crazy about notebooks which had hand made recycled paper. Then I started feeling impractical, because it was very difficult to find good pens to write in them with. Nowadays, I’m crazy about the composition notebooks like the one that is an amazon product. Really pretty, hard bound, and cheap. Of course there are downsides of writing things on paper – you can’t redo undo with a couple of keyboard keystrokes, and there is always the risk of losing it, or it getting damaged. But just like the taste of food differs when you eat with a spoon as compared to when you eat with your hands, my writing does too. I write rough drafts in the notebooks, take notes in them, but ultimately I improve them online on google docs.
When writing has to be done for the sake of it, it’s hard to do, especially when you have this constant nag of the world moving on, while you are still stuck with yourself. But there is always that innate want to share your work with others. I don’t know why sharing has always come as a given. Most writers write for readers. It’s hard to not to. When you write for the sake of it, the temptation to make other people read it is always, always active. So what do I do with that temptation? I’ve started submitting to online journals and lit magazines. They are a dead end in a way. You submit now, and wait for 8 months, most probably only to find that you’ve been rejected, again. The only smart thing that you can do is to keep submitting the same story(ies) or poem(s) to multiple places. Of course, it’s a lonely path without people. But that is how the things are, what can be done? Submitting to publications is tradeoff made, that keeps the hopes high only if in delusion.
Sometimes I get frustrated because I can’t make myself stand up to give all my time to writing and reading. It’s too risky. And I’m not confident enough to take that risk. I’ve never taken risks. I’ve always cowered. I don’t write well. It’s a long shot anyway, so why do it?
Still I keep writing, it’s like one of those unexplained things that get explained through the most pathetic imaginations possible — like miracles were sourced to Gods. But I’m okay with not able to find any reason. Writing too, takes away all botheration and thoughts and impressions. It’s an escape route. And I kinda traipse on it, because I don’t have a good imagination. All that I’ve ever written has been felt and experienced. I’ve not done a good job (yet) to imagine worlds independent of ours. I’ve tried though. I’ll continue to keep trying. Why? Probably because I’m stupid. Or perhaps because I’m stubborn enough to dream constantly. It’s hard not to, so stubbornness comes easily, but its consequences are tough on the shoulders. Once in a while you slouch and shriek, but then you get back, probably because you are stupid. But stupid is fine, I guess.
When writing has to done for the sake of it, you do not have a lot of options. You can either do it, or not do it. Either way you are going to regret something like all other tradeoffs in the world. Point is, if the suffering is going to be optional and independent of those regrets. If it is going to be, then suffering is going to be a choice rather than consequence. It’s the basis of Buddhism and Sanatan Dharma — you feel things, but your mind can have the power to choose to not be effected by them. I’m up for it. Always have been. What I’ve not ever expected is not having many friends. I guess I’ll just have to be stubborn enough to accept that as well.
It’s okay if no one calls in years, and by no one, I mean many people. Because I know there is going to be one reading this blogpost, and I don’t want to be called for this omission of the fact.
Writing down some of the excerpts that I ❤️ ed
Because my sole is void of holes
and my soul is void of the scars
you get from being behind bars
or from waking up and feeling that no matter how wise you are
you will always be marginalised by society’s eyes.
Poetry is eternity
and we are just specks you see
dabbling in its mystery
and I once was blind
but now can
So no, I was not raised on the streets —
but neither was poetry.
It woke up with the first sunrise
opened with the first sunrise
gave birth to dragonflies
comforted baby cries
and cursed me with my eyes
So when I’m dead in the ground,
my soul six feet down,
my tombstone will read for some child to see
and smile when she’s done:
Here Lies A Man’s Private Poetry
I kept looking at you while you were eating with your head down, silently chewing your morsel. Each morning ever since I’ve known you, you’ve got up before anyone else in the house to make everybody their breakfasts and pack their lunches. I wonder why. I wonder how can I ever be the source of this kind of selfless love that comes out of motherhood. How despite being sick or tired or anything else, you just couldn’t not nurture and nourish each and ever one of us. When Aryamann went to Canada, you expressed your wish to finally start doing what you want to. You want to learn how to operate a computer, you want to not be dumb anymore, as you put it, which is far from the truth. You wanted to study economics or English Literature but were forced to take science. You endured and gave your best.
Every day you come home from the tiring place of a school where there is no good company among fellow teachers, you are tired of teaching physics for so long. You do not like it, you understand the most of it, but you do not want to teach it anymore. You want to teach mathematics to middle schoolers and actually make a difference instead of trying your best to make students —who can’t even read and write properly, but have somehow been admitted to 11th, 12th grades — understand (or when need be help them cram).
I wonder what I’m doing to make your dreams a reality. Every night I sleep with a resolve that until I’m home, I should help you relax more. You are 48 now, you are getting old, your body can’t endure the same weight of responsibilities that a patriarchal system bestowed upon you. I do the dishes sometimes sure, and occasionally (rarely) make something for you to eat. I do not get up early to be able to help you in the kitchen, and I feel bad about it.
This post is a short reminder that more than anything I need to save time to be able to give it to you and father. I wish to care for you at least as much as you did for us, if not more.
Since, wordpress doesn’t give you full functionality while writing on top of the blogpost while reblogging, I’ve put the reply, so to speak, to this blogpost, even though there was asked none, here.
I quit my job 11 months back. I couldn’t exactly tell why. There were things going on at home and I thought I was needed. My brother was soon going to be battling the most baseless competition of his life – Engineering Exams in India. I felt I needed to be there in case he didn’t get in, which is what happened. Also, I felt connected to none of my team mates except Anusha, for the mutual love of reading. Nobody had a real sense of purpose. Making 💰, getting prompted, providing for family, being pragmatic at work to be able to bag foreign work trips are not purposes. At best they are goals, motives. They are more like parts of the cake in the fourth spatial dimensions of which only sprinkles or cream are visible in the third spatial dimension. Our mind has been practised on senses for so long, it’s very easy to stop asking oneself What is my purpose? very easily.
I felt trapped. I was learning technically, but I wouldn’t have anything to talk about were we as a team to hangout sometime. It was to such an extent for me, that I didn’t even say good bye to anybody from my then team and just rushed off at 5 pm to spend the next 10 days that I had specifically spaced for myself. Because I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy solitude for a long time ahead. I think that was the reason that I booked my flight tickets for 10 days ahead, because I somehow knew it already.
We moved to a small two bedroom apartment (It’s total space is equivalent to an average one bedroom apartment). We have about 5 families in the neighbourhood. The people who live right next door, in a big bungalow, are the sneaky and clever ones. They are hideous, avoid confrontation, prevaricate to work around lies about almost spying on us for no reason or purpose at all, and just always eager to know what’s going on in other people’s lives, especially the lady of the house.
Now I do not mean any disrespect, but I’ve seen many women living in small hill towns like mine, having had their share of being bogged down by thousands of years of patriarchial culture. I think what this has led to is that some of them have tried to find a way to have power over something. Unfortunately that something sometimes turns out to be just forthright gossiping, firing rumours and so on and so forth. Falsified things, that gives them power over how particular people are percieved by others. It is a terrible super power to have. It’s like that chinese whisper game, but in which the sentences are twisted intentionally. It’s annoying.
Nahan, is weird, in that, it’s been several years now, since the internet revolution, but this and many such mountain places are still primitive. There are no new businesses being set up. Property and shops are the only two main businesses here. There aren’t even properly used cyber cafes here. Year after year, teenagers grow up here, with the understanding that being macho is very important in life. This coming from some parents themselves. The language is weird here. It’s neither Himachali, nor Haryanwani, it’s like a surreptitious combination of both. It sounds like one is schizophrenic. People are ready to fight for the smallest thing, like it was something their lives depended on. Big bull shit values of the collective town. I wonder if this was how the place was when it was ruled by the famous King of here.
The only thing that keeps me sane here, is the wind that flows in a particularly secluded part of the town. Thankfully that is where I’ve always lived, though in different houses.
I’m going to leave this town soon, for good, better.
A week ago, I wrote When Family Becomes A Distant Memory. Khawaja Musadiq, a wonderful wonderful poet turned it into a poem, thousand times more beautiful. Although he doesn’t know the context and details I wrote the blog post in, nonetheless he wrote so beautifully.
surviving on a bleak glimmer of h o p e ,
tormented by l o n e l i n e s s
the grandmother is kept awake
with no one to hold down her fears.
a village all forgotten,
where the recently harvested wheat fields
or the dauntless cemented roads,
didn’t make one bit difference to us–
young afficianados of cricket.
my grandmother, a woman–
possessing iron steel c o u r a g e
married off at 16 as a young sapling,
widowed at 35.
barely eating, living in desolution
hoping to see her young ones
lead a better life. but
never to be subjected to a b a n d o n m e n t.
yet she remains to be the epitome of,
exceptional countenance and inspiration.
love happened to father. about time too.
paranoia hit grandmother hard.
a persistent belief — that her daughter in law
was trying to bring the mother-son duo apart.
if only it were so gullible to be torn apart!
in the house. taunts and insults,
became quite too Common
unable to put up an indefatigable
show of acceptance.
mother gave up!
grandma was finally subjected to
a b a n d o n m e n t.
financial support didn’t make up for it.
father found his peace in alcoholism.
eaving mother s h a t t e r e d.
who was averse to the concept of change.
after all the being deprived the will to live
peacefully life altering.
father continues to be driven
by the lust of liquor.
despite mother’s despise and detest.
the conflict only resulting
in a war of words.
to fall out of love — they chose the answer,
for their reluctance to accept
the sinking bridge of marriage.
mother finally consoled by infatuation.
and so came into being
our desolate lives.
but i no longer dwell in it
I can’t think of a particular demarcation line, the memory is too spread out and vague. But I can guess. First of all a background most of the boys go through, making fun of pink like it was worth it. Girls’ pink colored shoes, tops, the pre conspired assumption that girls are pink all. This is very common, especially when boys go unchecked when making fun of pink, enjoying deriding and dismissing it as Only Girls Like Pink. It is as baseless and preposterous as saying Real Men Don’t Cry. Believe it or not, if you are in a home/surrounding where this is not very common, you are privileged. That’s how common it is in many places including where I live.
The first time I sensed that I might be wrong was when I saw famous Bollywood actor Salman Khan wearing a shade of red/pink (I’m terrible at naming colors (even computers are bad at it)). Okay, that was obviously a joke, and I hate him and his acting (most of his films are intolerable). The first time was when I saw an Uncle (mother’s sister’s husband) wearing it on a regular office way. Trust me, I said to myself This isn’t really girlish at all! It looks so cool!
From that day onwards I’ve marveled at this fact often, and have conquered more such unbearable and stupid biases. This was written with the prompt given by Daily Prompt! I hope I’m able to write more on the upcoming prompts! See ya!
PS: If you are a noncomputer guy/gal/them and you didn’t understand the even computers are bad at it joke, please comment and ask me and I’d be happy to tell!