08 March 2023

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?

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.

28 January 2023

The reason I am writing today is quite unclear to me. I don’t have an agenda or a simple topic today. I do not have any inspiration as well, I seem to have run out of ideas. While I do appreciate your candour and support, my dearest reader, there is a chance you are reading this space on the promise of a sassy and fun-filled recount of a time I met another Karen, or perhaps even a bickering Becky. But I am, in the simplest of terms, sad today.

I have a life that gives me enough to be sad about, but I can’t put my finger on the reason what particularly is the reason for my sadness today. I woke up on the good side of the bed. I watched the new Teen Wolf movie, and despite its known lack of serious and thought-provoking content, it delivered me to a satisfactory enough orgasmic bliss by the end. So, you could possibly understand my confusion about this sudden burst of melancholia that has sprung out of nowhere.

As I chew on these three nine months old almonds in my mouth, I start on a quest. A quest of uncovering the roots of my desolation. The first thing that comes to mind is the room. This room that I am sitting in. This table. The table that my mother bought me three months before she died. This laptop, I got this on the day I registered for a creative writing course at the British Council, in 2019, if I remember correctly. My mom bought that too. She took up the money from her self-help group, or as the ladies in this country say, committee se uthae the. 

I am sensing a pattern here. My mom. I think I miss my mom. The noon I spent on the roof of this house today was quite contributing to my mood. I sat up there trying to read this book that I have selected to write my dissertation on, though all I could do, while I read a nationalist’s account of a woman he loved and how he could save her, was write with these big white-cement residue that had over time transformed into chalk. I was writing in Hindi, which took me by surprise, not because it was a miracle that I still remembered the letters, but because of the words I had chosen. The words weren’t Hindi, they were Urdu. QAATIL, I wrote. KHOONI, followed next. 

I won’t go into the details to decode those words. It probably had something to do with my mother and her husband not having the most peaceful marriage and the ways in which he, over the years, slowly and steadily snuffed the light from her eyes. The normal teenage years, I am sure you all can relate to. Though I do have some concerns about the things that followed. 

As soon as I wrote the words down in big, bold, and clear lexicons of Hindi and English, a devastating fear flashed before my eyes. He had a voice. My fear was male. Darr, he was called. He asked, ‘are you crazy what if he sees it and decides to throw a bigger kadhai at your face? How will you explain that bruise, haan?’

I did not reply. I complied. I do that these days. In my last two years of living with alcoholics and drug-addicted egomaniac men, I have acquired a pearl of great wisdom- it is easier to comply most of the time. I think it is so much easier to temporarily silence the voice inside me that says no this is wrong I hate this I am not your slave than to let the voice of natural subservience spring out of sheer helplessness. I don’t want this phase of my life to be my life. The natural subservience will never be the root of my behaviour. I will let that inner strength out sometime. I know I will get out. I will have an actual life. Do you want to know what that life looks like?

Well, like all the good old fairy tales, there is a house. There is also a white picket fence. It could very well be a terrace balcony on the twentieth floor of an apartment either on Fifth or Park avenue, we can settle on Madison too. We’ll see. So, there’s the house. There is a table on that terrace, or the yard, whatever I end up on. There is a swing. There is a porch. There is grass. There is the flickering light of a bulb I forgot to change. There is the moon. There is a clear blue, and black in the night sky. There is tea. There is the twenty-year sobriety chip with the same words on my two-year chip god grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change the courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference right next to my ninth book that came out recently and has already been selected in the Oprah Book club. Yes, Oprah is still around and kicking like the badass queen she is now.

What I don’t see is a man. Or a woman. I don’t see any children. I don’t see any household noise. Hell, I don’t even see a cat. That is not my dream. My dream when my mom was alive, used to be of a husband who looked like harry styles, sang like him, flirted like him, and yet chose to be mine based on the fact that he loved me and on the brilliant miraculous grace of god that I loved him back. There were children. The house was full of noise and chaos. The flickering light bulb was long gone, in its place was half chewed teddy bear which meant that after ten years of marriage and five migraine-giving yet somewhat decent children, there was yet another toddler in the house.

Perhaps my current person does not want the chaos and the joy of the older dream. But I am also scared of the isolated solitude of the current dream. I am wistful. I am sad. And most of all, I think I am still grieving. They don’t tell you the magnificent scope of grief when you lose the person you lose. I bought this book titled, It’s okay to not be okay, an account of this psychologist woman when she lost her husband. He drowned right in front of her, as she was stuck in her own situation. I thought, well, here is this person. She lost someone. Tragically so too, I mean if she could get out of it and then go on to write about it, maybe reading about her experience might help me too. I know what you are thinking. You are like dude, her and your loss are different, like bruh wtf?  But gworrrl, I was so fucking out of mind and in so much pain that I thought, at that time, this was the best thing ever. I so desperately wanted someone to come and pick me up, and tell me everything was gonna be alright. I wanted a saviour. Little did I know that saviour would eventually be me, and I don’t think I am doing a good job. I started the book with all kinds of hopes and aspirations, like yeah this is gonna be good I am gonna be like totally not sad after this. Needless to say, that did not happen. I did not finish the book. Her experience and observations were spot on, but I simply was not in the headspace to read about anything. Maybe I will give it another go one of these days. I am technically older and hopefully wiser.

But right now, I am going to wash my face off. I am going to go drink a glass of water, maybe two. And then I am gonna send this out. I hope this sudden stream of consciousness doesn’t scare you off, my dearest reader. Maybe I will be happy with the next blog post. Till then, I hope you the best of health and some deeply satisfying orgasms. Au revoir!