Monthly Archives: September 2013

Letting off the steam…(Rambling)

More often than not, my head is like a war zone. There is World War III going on inside. I try hard to keep the damaged thoughts and memories away.   I’m okay for a few weeks, then this thing starts to eat me from within again. It’s like a viscous cycle. It goes away for a while, then it comes back again. Every time it comes back, it’s harder than the last time.

I can’t afford to be ‘not okay’ right now. I’ve got exams going on, and in the last four exams, I have no idea what I’ve written. Pain medication and Cough&Cold medicines are making me insane. I’m high most of the time due to these and it’s making me crazy. My depression chose a really bad time to start surfacing. It’s my last year in school and I cannot, in any situation possible, screw it up. I’m working as hard as I can. I’m sleeping three hours a night for the last two weeks. I’m studying as hard as I can. I study till 1:00 in the morning, then I wake up again at 4:00 to pick up where I left off. I watch TV for two hours a day, four half-hour shows a day. On weekends, I watch a movie at 10:00 which drags on till midnight, give or take on hour. I don’t go outside to take a walk. I don’t listen to music anymore. I can’t bear it actually. I study, eat, watch TV and sleep for three hours. That’s all I do. Oh, yes, and one hour of blogging every other day.

I know the answers of the questions. I know what the Diminishing Marginal Utility is. I know the relationship between Price and Demand. I know what Elasticity of Demand is. I know what a deficit in the union budget is. I know how trades are settled in NSE Nifty and BSE Sensex. I know what NSCCL and NSDL do. I know what a broker is supposed to do and what he’s not. I know what Fayol’s laws are. I know how an agent is supposed to behave at his job. I know who wrote the poem Ars Poetica (And decided to contradict everything he’s written). I know these things! I know bloody every single one of them. I know everything that matters.

When I’m handed my question paper, it’s as if someone has put me on Flight mode. I start seeing two where I should see one. If I don’t take my pain medication, my back-ache kills the crap out of me. If I don’t take cold medicines, I’m left to choose between wiping my nose all the time or actually writing the answers. I write everything that I’m capable of at that moment and then put my head down to sleep, until those three tormenting hours of examination are over. Every morning, I wake up with my head throbbing out of my skull. It hurts constantly. So often, that I notice the difference when it’s not there. I just don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t know how to get out of this hole. I want to. I really, really want to, but instead, I end up getting sucked deeper.

The worst part is to go through it all alone. No one in my family knows about my depression. It’s surprising, isn’t it? They can’t know. If I tell them, they’ll think that I’m just hungry for attention. They are those typical Indians who think that if you’re going to a shrink, you’re downright insane. You belong in an asylum, not in a school.

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I thought I could do it alone, you know. I thought that it couldn’t be THAT hard. I mean, being depressed is being sad, right? Being around people might change that. Then, instead of being sad, I could just hate them. For me, that’s a whole lot better than being sad. Again, I chose the wrong people. I did the wrong things and by the time I realized it, it was too late. Like they say, the damage had already been done. It’s not just hard for me to go through this all alone. It’s like-taking. No one knows what’s wrong with me. I can’t tell them. My mother has her own pile of stuff to deal with. I can’t unload this on her. She’s got two bedridden parents. The last thing she needs is an errant daughter. My dad? Yeah, right. It’s a miracle he remembers that I exist. And bad news just keeps happening around me. Trouble is obsessed with me, don’t you know?

This is so much, oh-so much harder than I expected it to be. I did things I’m not proud of. I did things which I’m tempted to do again, but I don’t because I know that it’s a step too far. I don’t remember what it’s like to have a real conversation anymore. I haven’t had one in the last month. Who am I supposed to talk to? My new dog? My ten-year-old brother who’s always playing? Sometimes, I get so lonely that I just start talking to my laptop or copy or even my toothbrush! I realize that me talking to them is not a problem. A problem is when they start talking back. I’m so isolated, stuck in my ivory tower like a hermit, alienated, and what the hell not? I don’t like other people, but I know that I need them to survive. I’m one of the seven billion  homo-sapiens, a primate. I require company. I can’t help it! Evolution made me this way!

Its not always bad, you know. I recently went to a hill-station near my city on a school trip for a weekend. It was awesome! I had so much fun. I danced like crazy along with my other friends. The problem is, they are the kind of people who have fun almost all the time. They can make you smile at a funeral, and that’s a very good thing. The problem is that I need a deeper connection with someone. I’m way too deep for a healthy normal teenager. I smile on the outer surface. I make the funniest jokes. On the outside, I’m a radiant personality. I’m living a lie. I’m telling thousands of lies everyday, just to get by that day. One day at a time, that’s how I’m surviving. I put on happy face, so that people don’t ask me why I’m sad. I keep it all within me because I’m scared that if I tell everything to someone, they’ll know my weakness. They’ll know that I’m vulnerable and not half as strong as I appear to be. 

Is it wrong to be scared? Is it wrong to think that I do need someone to talk to. Someone who gets me, someone who just won’t ever judge me. Is it too much to ask? One billion people living in India and no one can understand me? What am I, an alien? I’m tired of living a lie and telling them. It’s exhausting to be two people at once, and yet not be myself. 

 

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Color me nerd

A year ago, if anyone would have ever asked me if I were a Lord of the Rings nerd, I would’ve punched them in their faces. I mean, I liked the movies, the animations and effects were great. I LOVED the guy who played Frodo. But being insane about that movie? Nah! Wasn’t exactly my scene. In fact, after watching every Lord of the Rings movie, including The Hobbit, I kinda got tired of it. It was the same thing again and again.

Then I saw a tattoo on a friend’s hand. I couldn’t understand what was written, but I knew that the guy had gone over his way with the whole ‘Elvish’ thing. I asked him if it was permanent, or just one of those fake tattoos which wash off after a few months. He told me that it was on his skin forever. I was like, “Yeah, right. Tell me when you’re over it and want to get it removed.” Knowing different kinds of doctors is kind of my area of expertise. He assured me that this ‘Thing’ that he’d carved on his body was going to mean the same to him for the rest of his life. (Like I hadn’t heard that one before.)

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Then, a friend gave me The Fellowship of the Ring  to read. I was reluctant to read, but then, I’ll read next to anything as long as its a hard-copy and not an e-book.  The first book started to wave its wand and slowly cast me into its spell. I didn’t put the first book down until I was done with it. I started in the morning, and finished it by midnight. Then, I went to my friend and asked if he had the second one. He didn’t have the rest. At that moment, I wanted to punch his face. Who owns only one book of a series this incredible? Huh. I was yelling in my head, “Why did you give me the first when you didn’t have the rest?!”

I wanted it really bad. I couldn’t find the second book for the next two days. Obviously, the girls didn’t have it. Then I searched it online. I didn’t care if it was a soft-copy. I had to read it otherwise I would never find my salvation. By the grace of Internet, I found a soft-copy. I downloaded all the three volumes including number two and three; The Two Towers and The Return of The King. Then, I finished them both in three days. After putting the third book down, I almost cried. It was like finishing Harry Potter series all over again! It felt like, “Why? Why did you have to end?”

Then, my ex-best friend told me she had The Hobbit. It was like finding someone you thought was dead. There was one book yet to be finished! I was over the moon! She stole it from her brother and gave it to me. I loved her too much for that moment. That book also blew my mind away. This was where it all started. This was where Bilbo Baggins found the ring! I loved, loved, loved it! 

During my phase of depression, I used to do nothing but lay in bed and think about how screwed I was. How I’d lost everything that I loved more than my life. All I could think of was how broken and lost I was. My head used to wander around the books I’d read, Harry Potter was a big help. It used to make me smile, laugh, cry and learn the lessons of bravery, friendship and courage. Few of the lines which inspired me are:

“It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live- Albus Dumbledore.”

“It’s our choices, Harry, that show us who we really are, far more than our abilities.”

In the Lord of The Rings series, there was this one quote which was stuck in my head. It was reading itself on loop. Again and again. It was constantly saying, “Not all those who wander are lost.” These words made me think that maybe I’m not lost. That maybe, there’s still hope for me. Maybe, I’m going to get through this and not get sucked into the dark hole. The books also told me, “Moonlight drowns all but the brightest stars.” It was then when I decided that just because this thing was a lot bigger than I was, it did not mean that it would win. It could blind me with it’s shine. It could show-off its power over me, but it would never actually hold anything over me. Ever.

Two weeks ago, another one of my friends got a tattoo related to Lord of The Rings on his back. This one was a lot more big than the last one I’d seen on my other friend. In fact, I liked this one better. Though, it did freak his girlfriend out a little, she decided that it was best to ignore the fact that there was a big drawing on her boyfriend’s back. She told me, “Don’t you think it’s a little too big?”

“Yeah, it kinda is. But I think it’s awesome!” I replied.

She laughed. “How in god’s name are you a girl?”

“Trust me, I’ve been asking myself the same question for the last seventeen years.” I had nothing else to say in my defense. I love the books, I love the depth, and I sure as hell love this tattoo.

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It might be a little lame to say, but this obsession with Harry Potter Series and The Lord of The Rings Trilogy saved me from being sucked into the darkness. Someone wise said aptly, “When everyone leaves, your knowledge from books stay with you.” I now know the role of books. They are for us to read. They are just laid out there, to make out what we think of them. To learn from them, to make mistakes from them. Well of course, the meaning of something differs from person to person. I think that’s the beauty of it. Anyone can make whatever they think of it. These aren’t set in stone. They’re flexible and that’s what I love the most about books. Books never betray. Books never complain. They’re always there for you, to be what you want them to be. 

So people, in my humble opinion, trust books more than you trust people.

 

The irony is not lost on me…

Being an introvert, I don’t usually initiate a conversation with anybody. I prefer to stay in my own bubble of thoughts, even if they’re not good. I’m way comfortable in my own skin. I don’t care what people think of me personally, but I am forced to think that how people will think of my family. Everything my name could bear has been damaged by my father. I can’t afford it to deteriorate any further. So, its upon me to carry out the dignity of my name, at least till the time I’m living in Indore.

Because I’m ‘The girl who can do no wrong’, I’m forced to go to different occasions and events and what not. When I’m there, I find a quite place. Maybe at the back of the stage, the corner-most table or the balcony. There, I just sit and hope that no one will disturb me. Well, of course they do. Sometimes I hear people’s most intimate conversations, which I wish I could un-hear. Sometimes, i see someone crying, trying to maintain their composure, at least until the event is over. Sometimes, people just ramble on their own, leaving me disgusted by their gory details. The mot surprising thing is, that they don’t even see me sitting there. I mean seriously, you have to be blind to not see a person as gigantic as me. I’m seriously tall for my age and impossible not to notice.

And sometimes when people do see me, they sit next to me and then start sharing their feelings with me. When they start talking without any warning, I think, “Is it written on my face that I want to talk to you? Do I give the vibes that I’m slightest bit interested in whats going on with you?”

When I person is unloading their heart on front of me, I can’t say the above things. I can’t just stand up and leave. I can’t start talking about my own crap instead. I listen to them because in that moment I realize that I’m not alone. I put my pain aside and listen to the person because that person has had it in him since god-knows-how-long. They have had that thing eating them from inside and today, they’re finally getting the chance to let it all out. I listen because I’ve been where they’re at. For some bizarre reason, I understand them. I get each and everything they’re trying to say to me. I mean, yes, at times I do feel like shutting a girl up when she’s whining about a pair of shoes she couldn’t find in her size, but I let her talk because I don’t know what those shoes meant to her. Maybe they were symbolic in some ways she doesn’t even know. Maybe she’s just shallow, but I don’t know for sure, so I let her talk and I listen. While they’re talking, I envy them. If only I had someone I could talk to. If only I knew how to talk to strangers. If I had talked to someone before all this crap in my life started happening, then maybe I wouldn’t be so broken. Maybe I wouldn’t be a hundred shades of messed up. Maybe I’d be happier. I don’t talk about my feeling very often. I write them down or post them here. 

There are people who dare to share the most personal things with a stranger. Maybe because they feel like the stranger won’t judge them, and maybe they’ll never see each other again. In my case, that’s not true. I mostly see the people who share with me every day. Either they’re in my school or they live near me. And that’s fine with me. I don’t go and ask them again if the thing they were worried about is solved. It’ll just make them feel awkward. Instead, I just smile at them and let them know that their secret is safe with me.

It also gives a certain amount of pressure when they tell me that they’re doing something which they SHOULD NOT be doing. At that time, I’m in dilemma. Should I go tell their parents? Should I give them advice? Am I the right person to give the advice? I don’t say anything to them. I just listen, and I guess my silence tells them that they need hep. They need help beyond the kind which I can give them. They understand and then ask about my life. I smile in my head and say, “Nothing much to say, you know. My life is pretty boring.” They smile at me and they know that they’re not getting a word out of me. They don’t force me and I’m grateful for it.

The thought that I’m the reason they’re feeling better is the one thing that helps me sleep at night. I’m happy that they got this off their chest and now, they’re going to do whats best for them, and I had a part in it!

Forgiveness

A few weeks ago, I did something weird for a seventeen year old. I joined The Art of Living course of six days. Well, not me, but my mother wanted me to go. She was dead set on me going there for three and half hours every day for six days, a week before my exams. I went there the first day, swearing that I won’t go again.

If only I knew how wrong I was.

That was the happiest week of my life. Sure, the yoga was excruciating and every muscle on my body ached for a long time. Yes, my legs were numb after two hours of sitting cross legged with a straight backbone. And yes, it was difficult on concentrate on every breath I took in and let out, according to the tape of Sudarshan Kriya. But the relief and calmness it gave me was actually divine. With me, there were five other people doing the course. The best part was how we got connected to each other on an out-of-this-world level. To be honest, I didn’t even like one of them. She was the typical ‘Mean Girl’ I had always hated. But then, she didn’t seem so bad. She was like one of the six parts of me. I still talk to her whenever I see her. I shared some pretty intimate details with that group, and so did they with me, and each other. The connection is just beyond my understanding. With thee five people, two teachers used to guide us. Today one of them is in coma, surviving on a ventilator.

I’ve known that lady my whole life. My mother and grandmother went to her, too, when they did the same course. She’s practically family. I feel awful that she might die. I can’t handle one more dead person. Last time someone close to me died, I almost blamed myself for her dying. I cried for two nights continuous. This time, I’m not sure I’ll handle it in a good way if she dies. Either I’ll go bonkers, or I’ll not shed a single tear and then keep it all in me. I had no idea that she occupied such a place in my life. I never thought that I’d feel this way if she were dead. I never even thought about her dying, actually. (You see, I’m weird that way. I imagine what my life would be like if people who are close to me die.) I guess those six days did change my life after all.

There was one thing, one thing that she, and the other teacher always said. It was, “Forgive others. They made a mistake. They’re humans just life you are. Be free of the pressure and just…forgive.”

It’s not easy. I’ve tried and it takes every fiber in my being to forgive those who hurt me. I’m great at letting go of things, people, situations and what not. I’m not great at letting go of things that hurt me. I store them inside of me and they start to eat me from within. I try to forgive them. I try to see things from their side but I fail every time. The pain that they caused me is just too real. I can’t  just give this away. I can’t wish it gone. It’s the opposite of how I feel for them. Whenever I look at them, I want them to suffer. I want them to feel the pain that I felt, the emptiness, the hole in my heart..everything. But there’s an inkling in my mind saying, “Set it free.” I want to listen to that inkling, because

Forgiveness is what she taught me. She taught me to let go of my ego, and forgive. Even if the person doesn’t deserve your forgiveness, you deserve the peace of mind. Today, when she’ll most probably die, I think I’m ready.

I’m ready to let go of everything that hurt me.

I’m ready to start off with a clean slate.

I’m ready to take the leap of faith again, even if it hurts me this time, too.

Because I deserve it. I deserve the peace of mind. 

As for my teacher, I sincerely hope she gets well soon. Otherwise, this whole plan might as well go in vain.

 

Being a girl in India..

In a word? It’s hard.

Everyday is like surviving a battle. Every step we take is like walking into a minefield. Every breath we take is supposed to be taken carefully, so that even our breath doesn’t stir the demons which lie beneath humans. 

If a woman gets divorced, there must be something wrong with her (because men are freaking saints). If a girl is seen out with a boy, her image automatically gets a big Red Mark,( because the girl is downright a characterless). If a girl is seen out with her friends, she’s careless and irresponsible (because responsible girls never have fun). If a girl is beautiful, people start imagining her wedding with their sons. If a girl is not-so-pretty, then people will spread the word to never ever marry your sons to her.( Why? Because we need perfect offsprings, even if our own child looks like a monkey). If after three years of marriage, the couple does not have kids, there is bound to be something wrong with the girl,( because no man can ever have reproductive faults). If a girl doesn’t do chores, her reputation all over the society is smeared.

I am done with trying to pretend that this can be changed. Because it can’t. At least not in my lifetime. There was a time when I thought that people would’ve been happy when I came in this world as my mother’s first child. Today, I’m not so sure. I  know that my immediate family was over the moon. What about others? I started thinking this when my cousin gave birth to her daughter two days ago. I was so, so happy to be an aunt. I told my grandmother. While I broke the news to her, I could sense a hint of pity for my cousin behind her words. I wanted to scream in her face, “Lady, have you lost it?” Of course I didn’t say anything because my grandmother rocks, apart from her old-fashioned thoughts. Then, I cooled myself down by visiting the new baby. She’s beyond cute and she made my day.

My rage blazed anew when I read in the newspaper how Ministers were suggesting the girls to dress more modestly if they want to reduce the rape rate of the country. At that point, I was way, way beyond mad. I could actually feel my blood pumping through my veins. What in God’s green Earth was that suppose to mean?

Women get raped on purpose?

They wear short clothes so that men can undress them with their thoughts?

They party at night so that perverts can take advantage of them?

Maybe it’s because that the Minister who said that probably can’t even spell Minister. (Surprised? Well, that’s the way India rolls. You just need to have political connections and an ever-money-hungry belly to rule over the people for five years). Well, then in this particular case, when a two year old who was raped by a worker in her house, she should’ve been more careful about her clothes. How dare her nappy even sneak out of her frock?

Then I thought that killing this Minister won’t change anything. What about half a billion other people, who think the same? Some other idiot in Uttar Pradesh Ministry said that chowmein created hormones that lead to the urge to rape in men. At that, I was like, “Are you shitting me?” (Excuse my language, but this is a sensitive topic for me.) If it really were the case, then China should’ve had the highest rape rate in the world. But that is not the case, is it?

No, the problem lies in the mind of the people. Problem lies within the mindsets of men who think that they can have whoever they want. It’ll ruin the girl’s life? Who gives a shit? Some women empowerment group will reach her, buy her a sewing machine and then leave. Then the whole world will remember the girl as a rape-case victim. No other man would marry her. If if he’d want to, his family would never accept the girl fully. (Good luck finding a man in this country who’ll leave his mommy for the girl he loves. I’m not saying they don’t exist, I’m questioning their existence. It’s a different thing.)

Today, if I go out wearing shorts and a tank top, the word will spread like wildfire. Everyone in my colony will know within a day. Next time when I come in front of them, they’ll look at me as if I’d boiled their chihuahuas. If I go out with a boy, regardless of whether he’s my boyfriend, friend, or cousin, everyone will assume that there’s something fishy going on between us. Sometimes when I go out my cousin, I wonder if I should hang our DNA reports around our necks. If that won’t convince people that I’m not out with my boyfriend, I don’t know what will. If I give a guy my phone number, even my parents will automatically assume that I’m seeing that guy. God forbid if that word ever goes out! I’ll probably never get married!

This so-called society can’t talk to their children about sex. Oh, my God! The S word! How dare they use that in public? They’re spoiled people with no manners whatsoever. Grandmothers cringe at that word, and they have like, 10 kids each. If this society wouldn’t have made made sex a taboo, then maybe these raps wouldn’t be taking place at an alarming rate. But no. As long as it’s not out wife, mother, sister or daughter getting raped, there’s no need to talk about sex.

Maybe I will never get married. No because I have an endangered reputation in my society. No, I’m the girl against which all other girls are measured, except when it comes to looks. They think I’m shy. They don’t know that I don’t talk to them because I don’t like them. They think I’m well mannered with elders. My parents don’t know that I swear. No one in my colony knows about my depression. No one knows what I go through every day and night. They just know that I’m the granddaughter of my grandfather, the man who could do no wrong. They think I’m as squeaky clean as he was.They think that I’m Mother freaking Teresa. 

All it would take to ruin this reputation which I’ve created over the years, is to be seen outside with a guy who people know is not my cousin or even a parent-approved friend. Will I ever do that? Of course not. Not because I care about my image, but because in India, once a slut, always a slut. Once you’re a bitch to someone, you’re a bitch to everyone.

Being a girl in India is an ever going challenge. You have to be perfect. You need to wear clothes which show a little to no skin at all. You need to be good in studies, chores, looks, complexion, jobs, manners…everything! One little flaw in body, spirit or character can be our trademark forever.

These are the reasons because of which I know I’ll probably never get married. I don’t do chores. I don’t like people, I don’t know how to handle a bunch of guests when they arrive  at your place unannounced, and I sure as hell do not know how to love someone my parents have chosen for me to love. I know that you think I’m just another teenager who’s saying this stuff. You think that when I grow up, I’ll blend into the society more and do get married. Well, you’re wrong. I may be just 17, but damn well know this; I am never getting married. Reason? This damned society. 

As long as women are treated as objects of sexual acts, India will always, and I can’t stress enough this always, be a developing country.

Against all odds.

Well, I think that it is about time I tried my hand at very short stories. The following is inspired by a true incident which happened to a dear friend of mine, plus some modifications from my side. If possible, I’ll post some more such short incidents. Enjoy!

She could hear a set of footsteps coming her way. Her head was spinning faster than it ever had before. The glass of bourbon that she’d sneaked in was starting to show its colours. ‘That’s what weddings are for, right?’ She’d thought before draining the glass. She walked unsuspiciously to the back of the kitchen and sat down on the cold floor. No one knew that she was here. No one would look for her, either. Now, she was sitting like a mess. Her black dress was hanging from her shoulders loosely. Her eyes smeared with mascara and eyeliner. She hadn’t realised that she was crying until something cold fell down on her thigh. Then, she couldn’t hold it in anymore. She gave into a heartbreaking series of sobs. While she cried, the set of footsteps came closer until she could see his feet. He dropped to his knees in front of her.

“What’s wrong?” He asked her, reaching for her hand.

She flinched away from him. “Go away.”

“Hey, hey, come on. It’s me. Tell me what’s wrong.” He insisted, pulled up the dress over her shoulders. Her skin felt arctic under his warm hands. His eyes fell at the empty glass and he frowned. “Look at me.” He cradled her head in his hands and looked into her eyes. Even with black lines smudging out, they were the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen. Damn, those eyes. He thought for a second before his concern took over him. “Tell me, please.”

“Everything.” Her answer was small but it made things clear to him. This was his connection to her. She’d say only a word or two and he’d understand everything it meant.

“What can I do?” He asked. “Name it and I’ll do it.”

“You want to do something for me?” Her voice was raised by a few octaves. “Then go away from me.”

“I will once I know you’re okay.”

“See? That’s your problem. I am never going to be okay! This thing is never going to let me be happy. This poison will ruin my life and yours, too. Be smart for once in your life and get over me.” Her voice broke his heart.

“I’m dumb, then.” He sat down next to her. “Because I won’t be over you. Ever. I know you’re not either. I know you love me.”

“Yes, and that’s the root of all this. My love isn’t worth the pain I give along with it.” She sobbed once more.

He pulled her onto his lap with ease and wrapped his arms around her. “It doesn’t matter. I love you. I’ll always love you, even if I have to fight you for it.” He wiped her tears with his thumb and kept his chin over her head.

“I’ll hurt you.” She warned him, putting an arm around his waist.

“I’ll still love you.” His words sounded like a warning to her, too.

“I love you.” When she said those words, a joy spread through him. This feeling hadn’t touched him in the last couple of years. She raised her head and looked into his eyes.

“I love you more.” He leaned his face down to meet her face.

It seems a little incomplete, I know. In their story, this is a milestone. No one thought that they’d find their way back to each other. No one believed that they’d last. They believed that he loved her, but she didn’t. I didn’t either. But, sometimes people prove you wrong. This time, and this time only, I’m glad someone proved me wrong. People who have to fight for each other the most are probably the ones who last. Their love is undefeated and true beyond belief.

Cheers to them for making an anti-romantic like me to believe in love.