Happy Holi, my dear reader. I hope you are well. I hope you all the best things that one could or should wish another human on a day like this. I wish there are some people out there, as I look through this channel gate of my mother’s house, wishing me the same. I wish that the gods above are listening to those wishes and thinking of letting me have some.
For a long time, I have thought about the existence of an almighty person or persons up above the stars. I mean, that just sounds like I am thinking about aliens but I am not. I mean, technically gods are kind of aliens. We don’t see them, we don’t hear from them physically, and we rarely have any solid proof that they exist. Then, why and how is this institution that we call faith still running so well? I mean, they have got all kinds of branches too. There is religion. There are cults. There is India which has somehow morphed into a religious cult in itself. In the West, we still got Christianity and Atheism, well, let’s not forget Yoga. True inclusion only happens when we include the slim waist girls with their perfect necklines, neon yoga mats, and the workout but very ethnic and exotic-looking headbands, chanting naa-maa-stay and saying how spiritual they have become. Then you have your witchcraft people. All kinds of covens and packs, and herds. You have the political parties, fighting about countries and who the land belongs to, giving reasons on national and international platforms. And it is all being done in the name of god. So, I will ask you again. What is god? Where is it?
As many of you are aware that I only write from my own experiences. Well, when it comes to god, I haven’t had the best luck. I do believe in him, her, or them, all of them. I do believe that there is someone out there or up there pulling the strings. I wake up at 4 AM every day. I brush my teeth while I try to shake off my depression listening to either Jazmine Sullivan or Lizzy Mcalpine. I know, right? They are both so different in their artistry, yet that is what I am doing these days. Then I make my way to the kitchen, and I warm a litre of water. I give a glass to my father. We will call him Kudesh (Ku means bad, and Desh means country in hindi; you can also think of him named after kuda, which means sheer garbage). Simultaneously, I start making my lunch, and I put on the new utensil on the stove to make him his morning tea. I look at the clock, it is almost 5 by now. Now, if it is a little cold, I switch on the geezer. Only for ten minutes, because in ten minutes Kudesh will probably shout, ye itni der se chala rakha h. Bijli ka bill nhi ata (switching it on for so long, do you even think of the elctricity bill I’ll be paying). Ten minutes. It is never more than ten minutes.
I make my lunch and I make his breakfast. I get the water, and I run downstairs. I close my doors and I get in my bathroom. I take off my clothes and wash my body. I wipe off the water and I shave my face. I look in the mirror and I fix my face. I put on my clothes and I get out to go to college. I come back home, and I make dinner. I eat my food and then I walk for twenty minutes.
And that is my day.
It is mundane and it is ordinary.
It seems nice and it looks fine. Now, you won’t see any difficulties there. I don’t think it is difficult at all. Probably because I am used to it, but it is not that hard.
What is hard is the first ten minutes of every morning. What is hard is accepting the fact that I depend on the right album or the right song, or the right artist to make my day not sad. And 4 out of the seven days, probably even more, I fall apart in those ten minutes.
Then this is what happens. I don’t get up at 4 am. Kudesh doesn’t get his water and his tea. Now that I have not done my morning service to him, I don’t have any right going up and making myself lunch. And if I am not allowed upstairs, I don’t get hot water. So my options become, cold water, or no shower, No shower, it is.
I shave. I always shave. Now, I don’t have hot water, you listen. So the shave is not going to be comfortable. It is going to require double or even triple attempts. But I will get it. I always get it. All the nicks and the cuts, I hide with the foundation, and the orange sticks and concealer, they will, and they always do, come back to haunt me the next day. But I carry on. There goes Monday. Tuesday. A Wednesday. Thursdays are nice. And finally Friday. By Saturday and Sunday, I am done. And I am exhausted. I have not done my research for my dissertation. I don’t have any real friends. And I hate myself so much because I spent another week doing literally nothing to improve my situation, and then in all that self-hatred and denial, I sleep or watch something on the OTT platforms to numb myself because hating myself is not the option.
I start out with something sexy, some good nice rom-com stuff. Then I move on to either Hannibal or The Big Bang Theory. Again, I KNOW!!! I am weird. Eventually, I will end up watching an episode of Mom with Anna Faris and Alison Janney, and that will remind me to get my own butt to a meeting because by this time I am sweetly reminiscing about the time when I had drugs and sex in my life. And no ma’am. We can’t go down that rabbit hole, so I get to a meeting.
I share. I force myself to share. I SPEAK ABOUT WHAT’S TROUBLING ME, MI PADRE, MI HERAMNO, MY DEAD MAA, THE SOCIETY, THE PATRIARCHY, TRANSPHOBIC WOMEN FOR MY TEACHERS, MEN WHO ARE ALL PIGS, and then I will see my own faults. I will admit them. I will begin a new day. I will begin a new week. I might do good, and I might slip and fall. But I will get up and I will do it all over again.
Do you know why? Because sometimes, surviving is not about falling into that deep well of despair. It is not about the depression, the anxiety, the sleepless nights, the dead parents, the addict siblings, or the parent you wish would die. It is about that same faith that those political parties, those cults, those yoga-slaying girls, those witches, and all those hypocritical men preach about. My faith looks different than theirs. My faith compels me to sing hymns and worship songs in the mornings, and light a diya in front of my mother’s photo in the evenings. I say my mother’s prayers too. I sing jai ganesh jai ganesh, and I sing jai sarawati namo var de. That’s what she sang, and that is what I sing. I beg forgiveness for being sad and I feel happy when I do that. In those few moments, I feel happy, because I don’t feel alone. Then, I get back to dinner, and there is that.
My survival is not always about doing double the work to show that I am working hard. Sometimes, it is. But sometimes, it is just getting up and doing the next right thing. One thing at a time. One day at a time. Sometimes it is about having the most mundane, and quite frankly THE MOST BORING CONVERSATIONS about bags and boys with all the rich girls I go to school with. Sometimes, it is about talking to a complete stranger in your department, because that will allow you to not talk to the fake legendary friends who told you that you can always call them, talk to them, because they understand.
And sometimes, it is simply about crushing on a guy who is nice enough because you see him only once every other week, and well, he is that cute Spanish Teacher, who always calls you by your preferred name. That’s surviving for me. That is faith for me. And right now it is what’s keeping me afloat.