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Serious Thoughts

The Contours of Me.


woman-falling

My name was tomorrow
dark haired in a sweaty t-shirt
shooting looks at you from over there at the
counter,
deciding whether you actually
thought like the book you were
immersed in,

whether mocha was how your
thoughts tasted
 like or was it just your
caffeine fix.
I was one, two, three up until
hundred, a face upon all the
counting sheep you would try to
imagine to sweep your insomnia away
under a deluge of will.
I was your distraction and a
constant, a barrage of
counter-intuitive seriously important nonsense that made
you
feel blurry around your previously defined edges
.

I was poly, queer, atheist, agnostic,
religious, spiritual, loyal, infidel
all
at once,
blowing my mind,
blowing
yours, blowing both of us down into
a well of deliciously addictive
confusion, otherwise named
“freedom” from our label-making
brain.

I was your outlaw, whom you
needed to protect from the society
but also, the bodyguard of your mind,
reading letters to your memories

which I found locked up in dark
places but which deserved to frolic.
I was your Stockholm syndrome’s
instance, locked in a beautiful dance

with my cultural captors
in love with all the
rings in the smoke that comes at
the end of burning my lungs alive.

I was maybe your dream and
your nightmare juxtaposed, your
waking-to-check-she-is-still-there
kind of girl, a rollercoaster, a big
bang, a feminist, all rolled into one
who made sense only when you
kept looking into its hypnotic
centre/ and at other times gave you
panic attacks like withdrawal
symptoms from a life-supporting
necessary-evil drug.
I was your human, demons locked
with the demons inside of you,
playing hide and seek, 

trying to
keep it intrigued, distracted,
soothed, growling while you
did the necessary to survive.

Name me once, name me twice,
mould me as you want according to
your will,
I will react in ways,
over days
spent locked up with you inside your dreams,
imaginations and memories.
Playing with the lava inside your brain
is the favourite pastime of the lava inside my brain
,

I will plant flowers that will survive the white-walkers
in your blank space, when winter comes
and you will have to face the world alone,
I will always, always smile with you
from the sunflowers inside your head.

Rape Republic Day.

This cropped up on my facebook newsfeed today as something I wrote as a response to some crappy videos that was doing the rounds in the media a few years ago. I deactivated facebook soon after to preserve my mental sanity from being bashed by people whose fear is so big, their inner peace gets shaken every time someone says “Feminism”.

In order to preserve the memory of that battle for my own courage, I will post the link here.

https://www.facebook.com/shine.shons/posts/10206011322824507

Happy Reading!!

Barbarians at the Gate.

My heart went its own merry way,
carrying water and making food.
tick tock tick tock,
fast goes the clock.
fall in love
eat your fill
find your dreams
make some money
love your job
love your life
fall in love,
contentment
all that shit
first-world-problems
stand in a queue
mosquito bites
faster and faster
make babies
raise a family
wipe their tears.
War, they are whispering,
“barbarians at the gate”,
you say with a sneer
and tousle your daughters hair,

and then

BOOM!

Everything stopped.

I search for my daughter in the rubble
blood is there.
blood is everywhere.
Find ways to console your little one.
another bomb falls
you lose your house
you lose your shirt
you lose your wife
you lose your meaning
contentment? what’s that?
water? oh yeah, a few drops left
music, whats that?
sleep under the stars?
Romantic you say?
I will take a roof any day.

Answer her questions
where is mother?
mothers gone for a walk, darling.
where is food?
food is coming to us darling.
why are you crying?
these are tears of joy, baby
make her sleep, hungry
rub her little belly
steal food from other children’s plates.
camps can be fun,
you teach her
all sleeping together
squashed
religion gives a hoot of laughter
I got you where I wanted, motherfuckers!!

your little one sitting under a tarpaulin
covered in grime
some bastard’s telling her, I will give candies
she comes asking
why he touched her there
and there and there
she feels violated
hold her
feel that anger rise
kill that kid-toucher when he is sleeping
Find yourself hunched up
hiding under a fallen roof
crying and clawing at your hand
to make it stop
make it stop!

Aah Politics!
Aaah Humanity!
Such a parody!
War is my reality
This is what hell feels like
But the joke’s on me
cz I know the worse has not even begun.
big people talk about countries
and regions and black money
and currency devaluation
and obama and modi and osama
and trump and hillary
and yemen and palestine and israel
india and pakistan
little people we are
cant find the luxury to like our life.
Nationalism, they say.
I need to love something that rapes me!

Don’t you bloody patronize me!
feel that violence burning inside you
Is it anger or hunger?
they all seem the same after a while.

Laughter lines, you say?
Bloody fancy name for wrinkles
on a 12 year old’s face
she has fainted!!!!
there is blood on her pants
there is blood on her hands
please, god, please
save my little one!
But the last hospital got bombed
all of those little suckers dead
but.. but what about hope?
Is that what we call
this twisted joke?
Papa, you said, its gonna be alright!
She closes her eyes. 

Look in a broken glass
wipe your last invisible squeezed out tear
in a choked out eulogy.
War-bred.
and now you are the
“barbarians at the gate”.
hahahahaha.
hysterical laughter
oh, i see!
thats how you create a monster!

That is how we started,
and that is how we lost.

war8

One Flag to Unite them All!

Really I see you my flag
In all your resplendent glory
of the three stripy colors
the wheel in the middle
sitting like a proud king in its chair

I see you my flag
on this day when I remember
I remember a bloodied history
bandied about as non-violent
while being torn apart into countries
which will forever be suspicious
of babies sent through the border

What is a “country” you say?
You see people bending down
in front of you,
a piece of cloth
while they never mention this word
what is a country, you ask?
Do I stand for something?
Am I not the only thing you should worship?

And thats when I realize
most of all have not come far from our past
we are still simple pasturers and herders
who have bitten off more than we can chew
idol worship is all we understand
and blind faith comes easily to us
all those genetics we proudly proclaim
to set us apart from baboons
and the humans of the past.

We call ourselves homo-sapiens-sapiens now
cz we have evolved beyond any doubt
while all I can see is that rocks and stones
have been replaced by flags and phones
we need a mascot
to pray to
and a mascot
to place our blames.

Yes, lets lynch the idiot
who wore a flag on his body
yes, lets lynch the idiot
who said he did not want it
lets lynch the idiot who said
we are all a bunch of monkeys
lets lynch the idiot
who wants to unveil our games
Lets get offended by all and sundry
lets proclaim very loudly to be equalitarians
who then go around gunning feminist men!

Today we understand the letters of the 
word
“Country”
and we understand the letters of the word
“Mother”
But do we really understand what they together
stand for?
For even though we have come far my, people,
we can never escape the one truth,

For those of you who know
and those of you who do not,
Hear me now and mark my words,
for this is the legend of the Flag:

25 different states for the country that was fractured
7 and counting for the number of religions and faiths
18 for the languages if we count the least

One for the mother that wanted to keep us
In the land of the diamond where the river Indus flows
One flag to find them all, one flag to unite them
One flag to love them all and in the light, bind them,
In the land of the himalayas, where the river ganges flows!

For even though we threw out people who wished to enslave us,
we have still not become completely free,
Human nature is enslaving us,
For it knows,
United we stand
and divided we fall!!

 It is 15th August, and I, just like the rest of india, is swept away in the celebration of the glory of our freedom struggle and the achievement that sits on top of the head of the image of our diamond shaped India “Maa”.

I wrote a whole post about what we must and should do and what we must strive to achieve. But then deleted it in one single stroke for I decided I am going to put together what we have already achieved and the greatness of this nation state which has resisted attempts of disruption again and again to stand tall and proud.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 1.57.46 PM

To understand at what cost we got our freedom and why we must respect it, we can watch the above beautiful video here.

Here is what I see in the light of our freedom. We won it at a great price and we must be able to justify it. Freedom of Expression: check. Freedom of Speech: Check. A constitution that must strive to uphold the unity and integrity of our nation state built from the edifice of the sacrifice of so many people of so many different faiths: Check. Of course all of them come with caveats and all of them stand at risk from extremists.

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This independence day, when the Olympics games were so close and so many female players are represented our country and brought laurels to it, we are slowly progressing towards a changed mindset from the hard to uproot patriarchy. Actresses such as Priyanka Chopra have taken us to the international arena, Scientists such as Ashok Sen have been awarded the top most awards, we have movies based on the lives of mathematicians such as Ramanujam. We have sent the first successful and cheapest mission to Mars, Indian born people are becoming the CEO’s of companies such as Google and there are always leaders and revolutionaries born who are continuing the struggles in the country against issues ranging from the abuse of females, corruption, unequal hostel rules as well as farmer suicides.

In the words of Jignesh Mevani,

“What is with all those religious groups who think they own the place? Here’s the thing, dummies. The country that came to be on August 15, 1947, belongs to everybody. There was no one monolithic group that fought for our freedom. Our freedom fighters were Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs. People of different castes, races, and sexualities stood up to the British together. They were ordinary people who gave everything to the freedom struggle, including their life, without any fanfare or notoriety. Therefore, no single group can call dibs on the entire country.”

This country is diverse, a small glimpse of which is provided by its cuisine:

indian-cuisine-map

On this date when Dipa placed our country on the map of the Olympics, being the first Indian to have qualified to the finals, we forgot that she was a woman and saw her as a human being first. My heart soared every time I read the comments and saw the tweets: We as a race, know how to encourage and be happy when we put our minds to it and we as a race who have at times hated our cricketeers for not winning in one match, gave our hearts to this athlete who finished fourth. This is one of our greatest accomplishments: Love. Dipa made us open our hearts up, unite and took us back to our values and morals: of encouragement, contentment, tolerance and love.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 12.40.57 PM

We belong to the land which boasts the world’s oldest university, the oldest way of life and the some of the oldest epics as well as scripts. The land where the Indus valley civilization flourished, the land of “Athithi Devo Bhawa” welcoming people from each and every part of the world at some point of time or the other and the land which boasts some of the most delicious cuisines. It is time we learn to walk forward head held high, not in pride but in humility and promise. It is time we rooted out the false politicians and gundas who manage to ensnare people with a cunningly crafted mixture of lies, half-facts, psychology, stupidity and “pseudo-intellectualism” and embrace ourselves to be what we are and what we will always be.

We are a mixture. (just like the mudhi-mixture we eat 😉 ) , we are a nation-state, we are a religious cauldron which swirls together to produce the “Indian” way of life which is ever-changing, questioning, accommodating, tolerant and loving.

“We are Sunny Leone and we are Deepa, we are Tendulkar and we are Mangeshkar, we are Haldar Nag and we are Gandhi, we are Irom Sharmila as well as Rabindranath Tagore, Gangadhar Meher and Arundhati Roy, Chetan Bhagat as well as Subhas Bose.” We are all and we are One.

There is one more thing: I5th August is not only India’s independence day.

13880257_10207182605900313_5133838369123560634_n

On this day, we must also remember about Partition, for freedom did not come without a cost. We must remember our brothers who are now our neighbors and we must rise against what false history indoctrinates in us. We must remember to heal the scars of partition.

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Read this here.

In this 70th Independence Day, let us remember that we are a people of one faith:

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 1.06.00 PM.png

Watch the above beautiful video titled “One Faith” by Terribly Tiny Talkies here.

And above all we must remember that we are humans, and we all belong on this planet called the “Earth” which is our first and foremost country.

On this note, a beautiful world “Hamza” flag was made by my friend Nicole:

hamza hand

Read what Nicole has to say about her creation here.

There are some things we must strive to go away from, one of which is perfectly encapsulated by this:

2016 - 1

And so United we must stand or divided, we will fall!

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 1.28.48 PM
Watch this full video here.

Hermione was brown?

In the aftermath of the backlash over a black Hermione, I thought back to my childhood and the moment I first read the book and realized that, to me, Hermione was brown. I was but exactly the age when you would expect your letter to Hogwarts when I got my initiation. My uncle brought me my first book as a gift from the US. Living in this small sleepy town called Bhubaneswar, the bibliophile in me who had not yet heard of the series called Harry Potter, hungrily devoured the first book, and as anyone with a good imagination would, I saw the whole tale unfolding in my (as Trelawney would say) “mind’s eye”.

I saw Hermione as a bushy haired extremely intelligent girl who was a know-it-all, Ron as a guy with reddish-brown hair and Harry, he was someone plain and brave who did not know how to talk about his feelings. And so, I was Harry, my best friend Swagatika, who had bushy, brown-ish hair was Hermione and my friend, Aishwarya, who had Henna imbibed short red-dish hair and was tall and lanky for her age, was Ron. A slightly shorter and thinner girl called Shantashree was Ginny and another very beautiful girl was Cho-Chang.

When you are 11 years old of my generation and have been brought up in a family whose only motto was “Simple living and High thinking” and did not watch TV, did not really know much about the world, because you live in a small town where most hifi progress comes much later, you do not learn to differentiate between white, black, brown, yellow or any other skin color. And having remained blissfully unaware of the movies, your imagination is truly your own and so all the characters were subconsciously brown (cz that is what I was used to, being Indian). I was a very very Brown Harry, she was a slightly lighter brown Hermione and “She” was a very very light brown-yellowish Ron and we happily play-acted many of the scenes in the book and made up more of our own.

So, I was left pretty confused about the backlash of having a black Hermione in the new play. What about so many of the readers who saw a white Hermione in the first movie, like me, and had no problem reconciling it with their pre-conceived notion of a natively-colored Hermione? I certainly did not have any problems except maybe being a bit weirded out by the portrayal of only one Brown girl “Parvati Patil” in a dowdy lehenga, a girl who was supposed to be the most beautiful girl of their class. Parvati in real life is stunning to look at!

But colors, spolours, white, shite, black, shlack, this and that, we live in a world full of diversity and variety, After all it is the sole objective of evolution! Isn’t it time we got used to that instead of throwing petty tantrums?

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