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Beautiful be damned!

Beautiful be damned!
I want to be ugly
where no one looks at me twice
or maybe do a double take

Curves be damned
I wanna thrive in rough edges and triangle like hips
bones sticking out and not a fistful of muscles to be felt
shapes do not define me,
I want to be this jungle of cacophony-ness that shifts shapes
right in front of your eyes
and if you were ensnared by my voluptuous sashays
and my full lips
I want to test whether my broken nose
and my prickly heels
draw you in as well.

Will you kiss my neck when my jawline
seems to go on forever
and will you kiss it still
when my folds and double chins will bump into your grace
and not fit into you like a puzzle piece?

I will be all nails and needles
will you be my yarn?
This thing between us, is it based on my body?
cz i am so much more than this, baby.
I love like the crazy and i kiss like fire
I blow minds when my words go spit fire
I question and question and ask all the why’s
I accept and show affection
when you just need your emotions stirred.

In a cold night, i can be your blanket
or your fireplace
and on a hot day,
I can be like the wind that will cool your face
I am tropical rain storms
which will come to give you respite
when you have been praying for a miracle
all your life.

Will you love me when I make loving impossible
because it won’t be the shit you read in romance novels
and expect to be perfect?
Sometimes, I will be a half burnt candle
dripping wax on your palms
searing, burning, but moulding according to how you want
and then right next moment,
I will be hard mountain,
only designed to be immovable and hard.

I will change and grow and learn
like the human mind is supposed to be
nobody is the same ever
when will the world learn this thing?
Love is not a constant!
Unless it is change..
My identity morphs and grows
and will take you with it
in exchange,
Let us go for a walk and a stroll,
sometimes i feel quite wrong
if I am not a square peg
trying to fit into a round hole.

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!!

Stranger Things.

Our hands they went
fast and slow
here and there,
explaining our ridges
in the joining of our bodies
Our contours, changing with each other.

Carving letters into our skin
changing our stories in incomplete ways
We will never be the same again
my subconscious tries to gather
strands of sanity
that are clinging too far away
for me to really care.

Time was timeless
and shapes, shapeless
words appeared out of o’s of lips
bursting out and flying of in the
overflow of these feelings.

Lights have danced in darker places before, baby..
and candles have flickered in dangers worse than this
but looking into those bottomless eyes
in the enclosure made by our curved bodies
I was enfolded in the embrace of my nightmares
loving it till it spread it’s wings and then,
You seemed to be the daemon burst out of my sins.

difficult

Darling!
Stranger things have happened,

than you and me
falling out of love..
But in the tragedy of it,
That seems to be the strangest of all. 

 

Featured image is by Space Ink via Tumbler.

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.

13912579_683566885126835_6642363431851354083_n
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.

Impasse.

‘So you wanted me to be honest. Did you think you could handle it? Every single excruciating detail from every single day of our lives. It is believed that the average human being thinks around 600 thoughts per second. Do you think you can handle them all, each one of them waving their red and green banners in a cacophony of opposites, an amalgam of contradictions? Did you think that I entertained only one kind of thought? I can assure you that I’ve had the kind thoughts which would please you on any given day and I’ve had those, you’re afraid I might be having. Do you think you could bear acquainting yourself with all the filthy, nasty, self-deprecating doubts that you have for yourself reflected all over my thoughts?

You wanted to know why I went away. You thought I could not love you, for if I had, I would have stayed. Don’t you think it’s easier for you to think this way? Is it easier that you hate me? Hatred is a comfort when you have no answer. But what if you knew that I did love you. What then? Perhaps you would not be able to hate me anymore. Perhaps you would be left grappling in the dark for answers that suddenly went poof into the emptiness.

My demons, they will become yours, battling with you with all the fears that you so successfully keep at bay.

They will take my form and seduce you and then leave you in the dust and you will feel such a resentment towards me, you will shake and shiver in your revulsion. Do you want that? Will that be better than this impasse we have reached, this reality we have paused at, this distance we have adopted to keep our characters intact? Maybe, maybe not. But the question remains, do you still want me to be honest?

Cobwebs.

I write about you.

All the time.

In every one of my poems and stories and ramblings you will find hints leading you one step up the ladder into the shadowy, hazy, illusional space I call my mind. Some of the hints are brazen, when I am feeling bold. Some of them are more subtle because I do not want the world to know of my infatuation with you. I can still have a perfectly lucid conversation with you in my head, the way that we used to talk, never coming to any concrete conclusion, living life as if we were two binary stars revolving around each other, never to meet, till one day, we will maybe collapse into a blackhole in which we incinerate ourselves. Our truth was made up of a tapestry of lies, deftly spun into words and conversations and late-night-outs lying on the grass, we were clever enough never to reveal who we are, who we were.

For what is the use of talking about tangibility, when we had all the abstract to ourselves?

Our world was not confined to the boundaries of what we could see and touch, no, we went beyond it, we played around with what was and what could have been. Time was immaterial when we were together, it seemed to just hang in the air in front of us, like a cobweb which seems wispy enough to fly away if you blow ever so slightly. When I was with you, I was a physicist who saw great wonders and who discovered the meaning behind space and time during our conversations because; what is space and time if not relative?

I knew. And you understood. And that was my truth.

Through the cobweb, we could still see “outside”, where the world was flowing on without us, never once did it cross our minds that we might want to become a part of it.

I still write about you. It has been ten years and nine days and I am counting from the time we have not spoken. In my mind, I see the bench where we used to sit, looking at each other with sparkling eyes. The way, we used to hum certain tunes, sometimes, your fingers playing an invisible piano whilst I sat on the floor and made up melodies. In my minds eye, I see the water flowing away in front of us while we talked about words and dreams and boats and love.

I still write about you. I was foolish enough to think that the present will extend to the future, if only we just stood still, if only we did not ‘spook’ time. But fate, if only we can call the passage of time that, had other plans, which it whispered in your ears whilst I was looking away and just like that, when I turned back, you were gone. Gone were the conversations, gone was the bench, gone was the music and gone were your eyes. All that was left behind was the cobweb while I was expelled out on to the other side.

Now, sometimes, when I am falling asleep, in that state between sleep and dreaming, I go and stand in front of the cobweb and try to look through it to see you again.

(This post has been first accepted and published in a medium publication “The Coffeelicious“.)

She Was Weird.

She was weird.

Certifiably weird.

I mean, who else says that she has fallen in love with “blue”? Or the number eight? Or a tree? That the universe speaks to her when its raining.

Storms. She used to love storms. Wild heavy storms which made a lot of noise and lightning. She used to say that the rain was like a curtain around her house which cocoons her and the day it stormed, she would sleep like a baby knowing that she was safe.

She was curious too. She always said “Curiosity killed the cat and I am that cat!” and then laughed her deep heartfelt laughter. There were days when her eyes would be dead and her lips would not smile and she would hear what you said but seem like she is a thousand miles away. Her hair, to her, on those days, always seemed lank and she would look like a painting stripped of color but resplendent in black and white. Her head would nod, but through her eyes, you could see her in some parallel universe crunching some impossible problem.

And hell yeah! It was difficult to love her, it was difficult to live with her but god! was it impossible to leave her! She was like a drug whom I kept craving more and more knowing that I will impossibly waste away while she lives her life in her fantasy land.

But then there would be days when she would say that her head is blank and that she has nothing deep to ponder upon and wonder whether she is becoming an airhead who has no troubles in life or whether she is turning into someone who cares for nothing. But those would be the happiest days for me. Little things would make her smile brightly, a slight wind ruffling her hair would make her laugh and clap her hands, her twinkling eyes and undying energy would be contagious and I would be swept along with her to some universe in which I was floating on a cotton candy.

Dusty books, old letters, ancient broken trinkets, silent movies and children’s smiles: those were her salvation. She would pour her heart out in a diary writing abstract-nothings day in and day out and would keep it out in the open. I would take a peek in it to try to understand her soul but to me it seemed that she wrote nothing of substance. The pages would be filled with blue ink in that slanting beautiful handwriting that I had gotten used to seeing on grocery lists but the diary was, as if, telling the story of someone else. She smiled and never cried while the pages of the diary: they never seemed to know a cloudless day.

But maybe, she cried her tears in ink.

Sadness-anger-hope, they formed an impossible cycle for the rebel inside and she would shake and rage and cry herself to sleep only to wake up in the middle of the night in a fit of hope to write a solution which came to her in the serendipity of dreams. A sad smile, a brimming eye, a begging hand, they touched her heart in such ways that they left a gaping hole and she would agonize over the fate of the world. At that time, her blazing eyes could set an ocean on fire.

And I was left wondering whether she was “storm wrapped in a skin for hire!”.

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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