Friday, June 01, 2018

Writing

Here is what I want to do. Finish everything, wrap everything up, and disappear.


Wednesday, May 09, 2018

One more day

For a very irrational reason, I was angry on my mum for getting cancer and for not getting better. She is not healing. It is very worrisome. I can't do anything to take her pain away and people I am working with are getting way too demanding. I want to breathe slowly and steadily and take each moment as it comes.

I was so angry that I started writing in my diary. I was doing it after really very very long. I was supposed to complete this diary by the end of last year and burn it. But I didn't. I still have lots of pages to write in. Is that how abysmal my life is? That I cannot even fill out a day at a time?

Well, it had started feeling abysmal but I wrote so hard that the scratches on the paper ripped the pages a little. The pressure of my hand imprinted the words on pages some two or three pages below the page I was writing on. My fury burned. I know it sounds dramatic now as I write it. But it really was fury. It burned me up.

Now I am a little calmer. I am a little soothed down.

Tomorrow, my beautiful people, it will be good.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

First Impressions: Split by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan


It's close to midnight now. The sun has set and it's a relief. I've had two heavy meals in the day and can feel the bloat turn into something more dense around m midriff. That's nota good thing. Since I like to sip on something when I'm writing, I've opened a bottle of RAW's Aloe Vera lemonade. I had expected it to taste synthetic. But it's actually good. The agave, ginger, and rock salt make it refreshing.

What does any of this have to do with the review of the book? Nothing much. And that is my observation of the book itself. It's well-written but a lot of what is well-written, I think, wasn't necessary.

Anyway, on with my take.

Noor Khan Rai is a 16-17 year old girl whose mum, a Muslim, left her and har father to be with a childhood lover. At school, Noor is part of a chic circle of girls - called the 'Group'. A routine day involved school, hanging out with the girls, coming home and doing homework, a scheduled conference call with the girls, chat with her parents, music, and going off to bed.

This was the routine until her mother left. One day, Noor comes home to find that her grandmother, dad's mother, has moved in to take care of her. The grandmother is critical of Noor's mum and Muslims in general.

Noor is sad, adrift, and not everything is good with the Group. The head of the group, a tall, beautiful, glowing girl called Armaana is getting nastier and bitchier by the day. One of Noor's closest girl-friends, Natasha, is beginning to act distant. Noor now needs to attend a group counselling session after school  for kids of families that have been broken. This session is first called TOD (I forgot the acronym now) and is later called 'Split'.

There are some really moving parts in the story - when Noor gets a letter from her mother, when she sees past the nasty exterior of one of the girls to see how her family may have broken her spirit, the communion she has with her friends. The parts that shine are Noor's engagement with her life and her navigation of he friendships. Where the narrative feels brittle is when the men come in - especially Ishaan, her love interest.

She's a Delhi girl and he's a Bombay boy and let thoughts of cliches not cross your mind. But they do - the Natual ice-cream parlour, the yearning for the sea, etc. etc. That is where I felt a lot of stuff was unnecessary. I wish the story had delved a little more in the psyche of the mother-daughter relationship. What did each one think?

At times, Noor wonders if there were signs that her mother was giving off before she decided to leave. There were huge fights but she couldn't be sure. That's when I felt protective of Noor. Who hasn't retraced the steps to a crisis to see if it could have been avoided? Especially situations where you have been let down by one you love.

But such instances are few. We see a lot of description of Noor's room, her group's parties, the loo stalls of the school, the kinds of lip gloss girls wear, and how deep and measured and totally fictional Noor's boyfriend is. I mean, it's not like men aren't that way but the fact that a 17 year old is that way was a bit much or me.

The book begins with the author's dedication, "To my mum, who stayed." It ends with Noor's character writing to her mother that ater she has fallen in love with Ishaan, she understands why her mother made the decsion she did.

Somewhere, between the first page and the last, I feel it must have been a brave story to write.


Monday, May 07, 2018

Anger

It has a very specific taste - sickly, burnt, bloody, raw and rotten meaty. I am feeling it so sharply now that I feel that my heart will either burst or stop. My eye has started twitching very badly and I am moving my leg very vigorously.

It is so easy to believe that this thing - this very thing that is causing me to breathe shallow and shake my leg dangerously fast, and cram so many biscuits in my mouth - it is easy to believe that this thing will create diseases in the body. It stays on sickly and thick on yoru skin and underneath your skin and there is no way out. It feels like I am in a quicksand.

Anyway, this is it, I suppose. We are done. I will just upload some things and go to bed.

It was not a happy day. At least it ends this way.

Tomorrow will be better.





Sunday, May 06, 2018

First Impressions: Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton


I  read the book in the hospital while waiting for the nurse to finish dressing my mother's wounds. I read the book in the stupor between reaching home late at night, finishing an assignment and client call before beginning another stint at work. 

So, I didn't just like the book. I am grateful for it.

Love warrior is the memoir of a woman who describes herself as 'a recovering everything.' She became bulimic when she was ten years old and slowly got addicted to alcohol in her teen years. She would have a lot of casual sex but never enjoyed it. The first time she got pregnant, she had an abortion. The day she had her abortion, she gave permission to her boyfriend to go and party with his friends. He had asked if she was sure. She had said yes. He had left.

The next time she had found out that she was pregnant, she was on the bathroom floor, tired of letting down everyone time and again. She describes the pregnancy test as an invitation to real life. The test was a sign that someone up there had considered her to be worthy of being a mother despite being so messed up. Despite that. And because of that too.

Her boyfriend at the time, Craig, and the father of the child then proposes to her. They marry. She sets up a domestic life - the solid evidence of this wholesomeness is that they bring out fancy salad dowls when guests come over.

Then one day, Craig shares some porn with her. They'd been having sparse sex before that. She watches porn and feels aroused. Then she has sex with him. There's guilt, shame, despise.

She asks him to get it out of the house for good.

Then, during therapy, she finds out that he has been unfaithful to her. She breaks. She protects her three children by asking Craig to move out. She takes up yoga. 

Then one day she comes across a TV show where a couple is deciding to move out of a house they have spent a lot of money on renovations. Turns out that none of the renovations have worked because the house is wired all wrong. Rectifying the wiring would be a long and tedious process. Not to mention hugely expensive. The wife wants to move out and cut losses. The husband tells her that at least now they know what is wrong. They can fix it. They will know for a fact when it is fixed. What's the guarantee that the next house they move into will not have faulty wiring? What if they continue to hang pretty pictures on walls that hide monstrous wiring?

Glennon wonders whether she has faulty wiring herself. She wonders whether she needs to fix it first before moving on? So she decides to stay on in the marriage and explore if there can be some grace to be had within that.

This book is an enquiry into the earlier question. And the book is a solace. For one thing, Glennon can articulate a sense of emptiness with very kind purpose. There is a portion where she is racked with shame. Her parents send her to the church for an intervention. She is scared of the priest. But before that, when she is waiting for the priest to show up, she spends a little time before a picture of Mother Mary holding baby Jesus. She feels a kind of acceptance that starts her off on a scary journey of finding peace. (So, when she gets pregnant the second time around, she sees it as a sign of approval by Mother Mary.)

And I was particularly moved by the way she has described her husband's adultery. There is a part where she asks why her own flaws - such as silent resentment, withdrawal from sex, a quiet, persistent rejection of her husband - should not be considered as important as her husband's flaw of using his body to satisfy a need. How is one thing more of a sin than another?

Earlier, I used to wonder why women whould stay with men who strayed. My initial assumption was that women remain in relationships they don't like because they are used to it, they are scared of the future, etc. This book is a nuanced perspective of a different mindset. Sometimes women may choose to stay with a partner who strays because they decide to tackle it with strength. They want to fix their own wiring and understand what it would take to forgive their partner and the situation.

It is moving that the book begins with the wedding day of a very pregnant Doyle. She thinks of the same thing the very first time her husband tells her that he has been unfaithful. That memory fills her with hatred. Finally, it is this very same memory that fills her with tenderness and love - so much so that she finally gets to the point where she forgives her husband.

Like I'd written earlier - when my mum was being operated, when she slept while ate cup noodles, when my father dozed off in hospital chairs because he was tired - I used to keep wondering that this tenuous, fragile life - what's it all about?

To feel, to fail, to forgive - maybe that's what.

So for this, Glennon Doyle Melton, thank you.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

one day passes

Mummy underwent a surgery. I am now sleeping in my mother's room and I am missing her a lot. Strangely it is not the big things that undo me - not that my heart is feeling heavy...

just feelin too slow to write.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

So...

My mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will be undergoing surgery tomorrow. This is her birthday month. We have had some family over since the last couple of days. She feels cheery when she is around people.

The sun is bright and beautiful outside. Our guava tree is luscious. It really needs to be painted now.

This, at the moment, is where life is.


Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Gfferwreder

That is not a word.

I am nauseous from lack of sleep.

Had choco-walnut ice-cream.

Sweet and nice. I want more.

Will go and get it.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

That time when you sweeten your coffee

Usually, I have my coffee black. I like it that way. Also, I have lots of coffee - more than 10 cups a day. So my tongue us familiar with that bitter, coarse taste of black coffee. It has also become my mood, I think. The mood of stark survival - slanted towards something simple and strong.

But what this kind of a boot camp mentality does to you, I think, it makes you a little brittle. You may be getting strong but parts of you may also be getting chipped off.

Yesterday I'd gone to Phoenix with mum. I had such a lovely time! Yes, I was working a little and taking calls and setting up meetings. But just spending time with her in a plush place felt good.

We went to one of my favorite stores - Muji. I love that brand! Everything is so simple, beautiful and basic. Usually, I do not like earthen colours. However, I like these colours there - especially for their cutlery and tableware. And stationery. Really like their black erasers.

Anyway, the last week or so, there has been a knot of anxiety in my stomach which goes away when I focus on it and breathe deeply and all that. It comes back again. But I believe it can be tricked into submitting to a will.

Yesterday, that feeling was there - but it was like that as a full-grown person sitting inside and in front of me. It is very surreal. And I did with it what I would do with a friend. I invited it to have coffee with me. And this time, I did not have my coffee black. I had it milky and frothy and sweetened. When I tore open the sachet of sugar and added in spoons of  it and stirred it, it felt like adding in some power. A sweet, soft, gentle power.

I had that cup of coffee and really enjoyed it.

After that, for some time, there was peace.

We're back to black coffee though.


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Nothing much

I am in the middle of some work but I will take some time out to write a little bit.

I was just going through the shelves of my bedroom. Now that I am in Bombay, I don't have a room of my own. So I don't get to go to my bedroom anymore. But today I did. I found a notebook in which I had written earlier. You know what I love and hate simultaneously? Notebooks that have so much written and a few empty pages. It's like an invitation to stop everything and purge your soul, writing and writing and writing. I wonder if there is a parallel to do through writing what Buddha did under the tree - meditate and not move and not give up until enlightenment is acquired. 

Long time ago, in college, I had once told a friend that I would like to die after having finished writing a book. Just put in the last word, cap the pen, close the book, settle down in a rocking chair, and go.

But then I changed my dying dream again. I thought of going away parked in one of those nice, quiet, leafy neighborhoods in Juhu. I am sitting in my car, listening to a song. My hair is long and it;s tied in a pony-tail. I don't know why that is important. Except that sometimes these details come to me. In the completed book version of me dying that I have written about earlier, I am wearing a pink pleated skirt. And a thick white shirt with large roses printed on it. I had such an outfit earlier. In college or school I can't remember when I was very very fat and could not fit into jeans. Also, the pleated skirt made me look hippy. It had box pleats. But it was so comfortable. 

I love skirts and dresses. I just love them. And I also like palazzos a whole lot. I don't quite like denims. I don't like anything that is tight or constricting around the navel.

Today

I got my periods today and so I did not run. Actually, I could have run but I was feeling very emotionally exhausted. I really cannot afford to feel emotionally exhausted because I have a lot of work to do, to pursue, etc. But I thought, "What the heck? I will not run."

I walked slowly. I spoke to a friend who chided me strongly for being very meek. Am I? Maybe I am. I have spent so much time being an angry person that I am now compensating for being meek. I will inherit the earth, I think. Looking forward to it.

Today, I was chatting with some people who were very strongly expounding the need to settle all karmic accounts now because apparently, we have come towards the end of Kali Yug - just before Satyug begins and this small window is where you can rewrite your destiny. If you are not careful, then you carry the same destiny across the ages for all 4 yugas.

It's good to have so much certainty over something so nebulous. The notion that there is a chance to never have these traits again, to never make these mistakes with the same people, to be gentler, to be more kind and patient, to let the small things go - the ability to wipe the slate clean and set yourself up for success - it is so appealing. Whether it is true or not, it is definitely appealing.

Basically everyone wants to be a writer and God or Karma is a publishing agent.

My manuscript seems to be half-written and I've lost the plot somewhere. :-) And God is not interested because It is investing in web series now. Ha ha ha!

Today, the lake looked beautiful. It was dark, there was a lone empty boat drifting in the middle of the lake, and the water shone like thick, wet paint. My friend who was chiding me told me that I am not realistic because I only see the nice things in everything. He said that as if it were a bad thing.

People are strange.

Regarding this karmic account, I think there is something to that. There is a person with who I absolutely need to heal my equation. It is getting very painful to carry on otherwise. In fact, my very good friend (you can read her here: www.teerathyatra.com), had taught me a meditation exercise wherein I could visualize any energy-cords being cut with whoever I was having difficulty with. This is a very powerful exercise. I should get her to write about this.

So, this person who I am experiencing a challenge with, I saw him and I imagined trying to cut off the cords. But you know, usually, I have seen a slender thin cord. This time, I saw this thick, black mass of hard brush-type knotted energy. And it smelled. It felt rotten. Everytime I see him or even hear his name, I feel a tightness in my solar plexus. And that is exactly where I felt a tight, rotten energy. This, maybe, is some dark dense karmic account that needs to be healed. That needs to be worked on and prayed on.

I believe in prayers though. I like the act of getting clear and just that process of sweet surrender.

I will go now.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

One more day has passed

I don't know what I have done but the font on this screen has become really tiny.

I went for a play today. On the way, I took a short video of us driving past Nariman Point as the sun was setting. Put it up on Instagram.

Shreya had put in a comment in the earlier post asking me about my Insta handle. (Shreya: I haven't gotten around to posting comments but thank you for reading my posts. I didn't think there was anyone around to read them.) My Insta handle is: notamistake23062017.

I went for a play today, Dear Father at NCPA with my mom and brother. We had a really nice time. It was a great play (although it felt slightly long) and each actor really played his and her part well. Paresh Rawal is stellar!

Do you think that, overall, it is a sin to grow old? I always used to believe that things will only get better when I get older. I could never understand why people are scared of getting older. I think it is because of loneliness. I think loneliness must be hugged  - the way you hug a sweet, sad, aloof child. You must explore and excavate that loneliness, wash it and dress it like a wound, and heal it. Not heal it so that the loneliness becomes togetherness. You must heal it so that the loneliness becomes the most tender, fulsome loneliness there is.

I think as you get older, you must become a parent to your loneliness.




Friday, February 16, 2018

More

Now I need to scout for freelance assignments. Looking forward to it. My energy has not been quite up to it lately but I will get around to doing some good stuff soon.

Somewhere around the end of last year and the beginning of this year, I have decided to focus on consistency. I think the simple act of sticking to something has gotten such a bad rep nowadays that maybe we are collectively giving up too early. Maybe we are just calling a lazy indisciplined mindset to be a flow. Or maybe I am just being too harsh.

Matters such as these have occupied my head and heart since a long time now.

It is Friday afternoon and I ate a lot. I had rice, jackfruit and potato curry, moon daal with a tempering of mustard seeds, garlic and tamarind. It tasted really nice. I had never really tasted tamarind with a smoky flavour but it was really tasty. Unexpected stuff.

I also just had a can of Greek yoghurt which was not really nice. So I think I will eat a boondi laddoo. I intend to go for a run early today.

Let's see.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

What happened today

I met my friend who'd recently gone to Paris. Her stories sounded lovely. They reminded me of my trip to Geneva. Her first meal there was a croissant, some dried apricots, a piece of cake and black coffee. It was cold, the Seine was flooded, and I wasn't there but for some reason, I imagined someone doodling summer strawberries on a napkin.

I didn't go running today. I feel like running a lot tomorrow. I feel like having fun and taking it really easy.

Also, I am typing in the dark.

I was thinking of this concept where you buy time when you buy a book. That would be cool. And you also buy a mobile parking spot when you buy a car.

I fit into a really old pair of olive green pants today. I'm thinking that I will not buy any new clothes this year. Of course, a year is a rather long period of time. I intend to take it one day a time. So, today I did not buy any new clothes.

I see a Facebook post by Elizabeth Gilbert. I follow her page. She, it seems, has lost her partner. I really like her!

Things are good.






Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Stuff

Yesterday I went to a charming little shop called Honey Dough. Or maybe it is Honey and Dough. I got myself a ham and cheese croissant. It came in a light blue box with a print of some English neighborhood. The print was in white. The box was sky-blue. The snack was a ham and cheese croissant.

The croissant was really good though. It was buttery, light, flaky. The slice of ham was tender. The cheese was salty.

This first part was written a month ago when I was working in Defence Colony and I was non-vegetarian. I am no longer in Delhi and I am no longer a non-vegetarian. Both these situations may change. I just wanted to get a lot of stuff out of my head.

I am back in Bombay and I am sitting in a very sweet nook in my mother's bedroom. Behind me are these long drapes in aqua silk and white tissue with silver embroidery. So it is pretty and all. But I haven't really gotten around to actually doing any work.

I met some friends the other day in Juhu and it was nice. But you know, when you live and work in a different place for a bit, you feel a certain staleness leave you. It comes back when you are suddenly back in a circle where people make different choices - where they are building homes, careers, lives in one city only and travel to simply get away. It is not a lesser way of being but I wonder if I will ever feel comfortable in that kind of a set-up again.

I don't know. Maybe it is early days now. But I feel I belong more in Delhi now, especially Noida - with its crowd of people from outside, living on rent, everyone figuring out the quickest way home from the station, etc. That familiar clump of uncertainty that blooms like a chrysanthemum.

The only thing that I am really enjoying or rather that I am so curious about understanding more deeply is family. It suddenly strikes me that I am so different from my parents. It then follows that there is such huge amount of love and acceptance on both sides. That is a huge, shimmering prize - to be with family.

You know what I found really surprising - just how little I am reading now. And whatever I am reading now, I am putting up a few lines along with the picture of the book on Instagram.

The other fun thing that has happened is that I have started running. I go in the evenings to the neighborhood promenade built around the lake. I like the way the water shimmers with reflection of city lights. It looks peaceful even as my heart pounds and I sweat.

I had planned to write more. In fact I had planned how I have not wanted to write for a long time. But I am meeting a friend for coffee. She has just returned from Paris. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

New stint

To be so strong so as to keep it simple.

Am in Delhi for the next 3 months to learn this.