Saturday, November 26, 2011

Knock. Knock. You Insist We Are Psychologically Harmful?

You’re a stupid moron.
You’re just a piece of shit.
A tiny half-chaddi,
Against whom I do not need to sharpen my wits.

You’re a dumb broad,
Your mother’s one too,
A daft little whore,
Who wears pink to perform in your music-show.

You dress like a slut,
You act like a bitch,
You’re a prostitute,
(Just like everybody else is.)

Are you a monkey?
Dho-dalun kya?
I’ll break your bones if you don’t listen to me,
You should love your papa.

Get the fuck out!
Your friends are also all pimps and whores.
You don’t love me anyway,
I’m just Mr. Moneybags, why stay?

Shut the fuck up!
I’m not wrong.
Silly whores only know to cry when,
They goad men to hit them.

I’m not going to stop,
I’ve already said that it’s wrong,
But the most violent people in the house,
Are you prostitutes, who egg me on.

Let me tell your brother that you’ve never listened.
Don’t you dare say a word!
Because my little shit moron,
That’s going to get me provoked.

Isn’t this fun!
It’s just a laugh and you know it…
I think everyone’s a prostitute,
A spade’s a spade or a bloody shovel.

Saying I love you is quite dumb,
Reminding others that they are whores
And ungrateful bitches is however
Quite deeply necessary.

What’s your problem?
Little “Miss Khushboo Shah”
(of at least 9 years age)
Why are you mischief mongering?
Have you not had enough?

Don't speak and LEARN TO LISTEN, YA MORON. 

Is that Understood?
Are we Clear?

-Khushboo Shah

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lucky That Love's My Best Friend

How do you know when it’s okay to wait?
Because sometimes you say things too soon.
And then a little longer just feels like it’s much too late.

I have all these questions.
I know you want forever,
Before you start to try things out.
And that you think tomorrow is never,
But what do I do when you’re all torn and I’m crying too loud?

What do I really want today, anyway?
Just a little bit of everything I like?
Restful nights or maybe some to stay awake?

A tree and a garden.
A pot on the stove.
A little hand to hold,
A place to call home?
A voice to come back to?
A bed that isn’t cold?

Some things have full stops,
But others aren’t even-toned.
And pauses show indecision,
That will soon be grey and old.

A few things are certain,
Even in a life that hasn’t begun to unfold.
And the mind is so fickle,
It says what it hears it hasn’t been told.

I look to the sunset,
Without blindsiding the day.
I know that it’s not easy,
But somehow it always ends up okay.

You make me happy and please me,
I just want the same.
It’s hard to believe me,
But I really am quite sane.

I wish we could try harder,
To learn to let go.
Or even wait for each other,
But I really don’t know.

Maybe it inspires,
To cause for an effect.
And it’s wishful to hope that
I’m naïve all the way until I have grown. 

We can’t be giving,
Until we have ours to give.
And I know this, believe me?
There’s so much to start before I end,
Lucky that love’s my best friend. 

-Khushboo Shah

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Dream Far Too Much

Why can’t I sleep?
I’m tired.
And there’s nothing to keep me awake.

It always starts so quietly.
I close my eyes and hope.
I breathe heavy,
A tired sigh.
And while it climbs through the undergrowth so slowly,
It soon soars high.

There’s the colors.
The sounds and lovers.
The cruel words.
The bizarre outlanders.

They tell stories that crush.
I dream far too much.

It ends like an exhausted song,
That dwindles down my lanes and stops,
I wake up without ever sleeping,
I’m still recovering from reading
A book that ended without ever beginning.

Who is my Pygmalion?
He chisels a troubled frown. 

A computer programmer?
Who set free,
Within me,
A virus he can’t shut down.

-Khushboo Shah 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Once a Man, Once a Shadow

And you came then,
To the happy grey mist.
You came when I said-
“Let us go.”
I took your hand,
Larger than life.

As we walked,
Down road from road,
Just the way you’ve always liked-
Forest then fork, forest then fork,
I noticed a secret alibi.

You had a tail,
Which lacked detail
But was tall, dynamic,
And dizzyingly busy,
Unstoppable, in and out of the limelight.
Just like you,
Physics was once a man to me.

Telling tall tales,
Of how falling trees lack sound,
And that everything that goes up
Just has absolutely to come down.
I was charmed,
Until you crudely demystified.
The resemblance you bear one another,
Is uncanny .
Skipping heartbeats and conscience.
Assuring me of a dreadful lack of the magical
Only to soon reveal it within yourselves.

You cast your net,
And pledge no allegiance,
In the comforting knowledge
That your tangles are a formidable snare.

But you only came when I said,
“Let us go.”
A happy cloud to seed,
I needed assistance.
And what did I know of your deviance?
I only ever knew of mine.

It is your great fortune,
To have that dark, formless alibi.
For it is easiest to learn to love
What one themselves colours in.

Will you not come if I say:
“Let us return.”
I perceive your reply.
“Madam, it fears me, that I…”
“…I never left.”

-Khushboo Shah

Thursday, March 10, 2011


The sheets that usually felt soft suddenly stung me with the stray tobacco that embellished it like chocolate chips on a cookie. I was lying in his bed, somewhat groggy and somewhat shocked. Somewhat upset with what had brought me there. Wrapped in nakedness that was only skin deep, because I’m sure he didn’t see what lay under it as he glanced over me and bade me a sweet farewell. 

I recognized the empty feeling in my gut immediately. I even prepared myself to fight the uncertainty in my tear glands and the surge of emotion that made me want both to wrangle him and run away at the same time. I surrendered to my reflex of reaching out for the phone and ensuring that I didn’t leave alone from experience, and suddenly realized that this had happened too many times before. 

I think it was that momentary enlightenment as we drove away, (me quiet and not exactly tear ridden, my company too afraid to ask from seeing a replay of what had indeed happened too many times before) that jerked the waxing nausea out of me, only to leave me dismal, and exhausted. The leather of the seats seemed to pinch me into diffident action, and I tried to do what I always did, I sang and drew and wrote and tried to convince myself that it didn’t really matter but after the first three times I sung Jolene, which had stuck as an anthem with its traditional portrayal of the cliché I seemed to be unable to escape, it occurred to me that it did. 

I sat on my own bed, covered this time, but naked to everyone who knew me well enough, somewhat lost and somewhat curious. More determined to change something, than I was submissively depressed, but that was only because I was so unendingly hopeful- naïvely so, even. 

I looked into myself with my not so newfound or fortunate fortitude, and faced the fact that there was a problem with this being a regular experience. But I wondered what I could do about it- it seemed reasonable to expect people to find it in their own goodness to bring you to awareness if they are otherwise distracted, or at least not encourage the image of absolute fidelity and a resolute relationship right from the onset of it. I couldn’t see how to disregard this presupposition without the manifestation of what would seem to be neurotic insecurity. 

I wondered if that was what providence intended to batter me into- because it certainly didn’t seem to be reassuring my trustfulness with any rewards. I thought about exercising due caution to ward off further pain- and not making the efforts I usually do, but I feared coming across as cold. And I looked back to see that I had tried that this time, I had waited until I was comfortable that no skeletons would fall out of closets, but they did anyway. Maybe the lesson was never to take comfort in anyone- but there you have the neurotically insecure bitch again. 

I decided to step into the shower to distract me, and at least figuratively wash the chaos in my mind away. Needless to say the process remained figurative with good reason. 

I’d never been in quite this much turmoil. This seemed to be the last little increment that would tip the scale. No reflection on him- how could he know the countless times this had happened before. And I supposed that it might seem fairly easy to deal with from the outside- but that inkling of doubt that this particular brand of rejection leaves on your self-confidence had turned into a well for me. 

As it was with every other time, I knew the right thing to do was to seal off further pain, and like every other time, I decided instead to have faith in my own person and the appeal thereof, motivated into bleak hopefulness more by the notion of a full glass’s inability to get fuller than any real belief that I was distracting enough to distract the distracted. 

Not to say that I thought I wasn’t- but perception and assumptions are ultimately what drive human desire, and as long as someone has a notion of what most stimulates and draws them, there is very little even the most attractive of people can do to offer the prodigal girl in the red dress competition. 

I was still cold from the stray moisture the shower had left on me, and I decided to make the effort worthwhile by attempting to redirect my thoughts. Experience dictated this was the time to try denial and justification instead of taking facts for what they were. It also told me, more handily, to skip the scheming and games at one-upmanship. 

And so I commenced trying to believe that I was taking things out of context and that I had seen enough reimbursing of sincerity to be able to disregard the ignition of disorder in question. Sure, it hadn’t been material or published; and it was only momentarily tangible most of the time (and I had seen proof of the possibility of more permanent signs of affection elsewhere), but I tried to convince myself that this was just the natural disparity one found in expression. I thought about the waning enthusiasm, and reconciled with the possibility of it being routine wear and tear (even with a clear example of how that isn’t an object in other avenues).  But, somewhere, underneath it all (or far more unashamedly) was the gnawing sting that usually comes with the truth: I made a fair substitution, but the real ingredient was still available somewhere, and as long as the chef in question thought it made a better recipe, I was left, tactlessly, only where I absolutely needed to be- and if I stayed there, I would not make it to where I was in fact the centerpiece.  

But he held incredible appeal with me, and I didn’t know where to go from there. 

I stood at the door still, a silhouette against the bright, mirror enhanced, light inside the bathroom and dropped my towel, watching it fall in fragile curves that collected around my feet.  I felt drops of water trickle down the small of my back, each one of them caressing my bare skin ever so slowly, and sending sharp shivers down my spine, and coercing me to turn to something else. I considered attempting to reminisce from there, and reached out for the technology that had pervaded my ways of knowing and remembering. The electricity lurched through my moist, naked body, and drenched feet, as if warning me of what was imminent.  

As I looked through what was a mountain of data but a handful of sweet words, I noticed that the volition to appreciate seemed to be progressively diminishing, and was presently entirely absent, in my case,  but not in that of the one who could presumably turn everything around. I came to the conclusion, and not too soon, that this was going to do more harm than good. I didn’t need any more signs to tell me that this was customarily the moment to walk away and take solace in over-population. I knew I wouldn’t. 

He clearly held incredible appeal with me. 

I fell asleep with that dilemma eating away at me; not for long, but long enough to dream a telling dream. I had been walking the length of an endless road trying to find a way to U-turn to the other side, after trying to shoot down the divider (that went a good 50 meters high and spanned the expanse of the road) keeping me from using the method of crossing I’d learned so painstakingly through the course of my waking life. I even tried to climb it, but to no avail.

 Here I was on the other side of a road that would not let me cross it. And here I was obstinately insisting on my ability to reach the other side. 

Suddenly, I was in paradise, hoping that the fruits of effort were not forbidden to me. I searched for them, and I found them, high up on a horned tree. If I were to portray bleak hopefulness I would have chosen this image, and I did. But ostensibly, there was some security in knowing that I could change dreams; it reiterated the variability of the world I was depending on. 

I decided to wake up, meekly consoled by possibility, and hopeful as I went on to face what was not really inevitable.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I waived a promise again.

Your answers elude me,
And I question so blatantly.

Why does it strike the culpable?
Guilty of the same crime.
Your eyes draw mine tangentially-
That it may well be unrequited stings.

Your answers still elude me,
And I question elsewhere.

Why are there silences in between?
Watching live shadows gambol and game.
I was drawn because contact is often
A soul’s muse to persist and feel.

Your answers elude me yet:
And I question my ponderings.

Why does an accident prelude turmoil?
It’s passing so ephemerally endless.
And again I was drawn, unfortunately,
 To what is drawn elsewhere.

Your answers elude me no less than they did,
And I cease questioning.

Why is preserving oneself so challenging?
We once were hopelessly devoted to survival.
I have drawn eyes before,
You’re overwrought and in another’s keeping.

Curiosity killed me painfully and quickly.
Ignorance would have slaughtered me torturously.

I cannot waive the promise again.

But I have.
With faith in my goodness.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


It always starts out with two, until they merge carefully and precisely into one. Everywhere around the building that was both feared and loved, there were twos that were occupying themselves with perplexing mathematics. The skies were heavy, and the soil was moist: nature was aroused and contagious. Nine months later, there were many echoes, and some sounds. 

Takshit held an unnamed being in his arms, just born and infinitely beautiful. He was completely overwhelmed. He could see himself in her: but only ever so slightly, in the adult sized eyes that had imposed themselves so ridiculously on her tiny face.  She was his- she was made of him: a little meiotic miracle, who yet knew neither love nor fear. 

He wondered if the attachment he felt had been manufactured by the tenth-standard biology chapter his teacher had summarily refused to teach, expecting them to “read and get” (or “do and get”, but that was only for the ones who were deficient in “good prospects”). Eventually, he concluded irrationally that it was natural.
Natural, just like everything else, and having a baby.  

 His life was a series of consequences manifesting themselves to the zillionth pixel of perfection.  What ruined it all was that he was unaware of the triumph he signified in destiny’s battle with human consciousness and capability. He was the epitome of the Indian bourgeoisie: oblivious to reality, a connoisseur of hypocrisy, reluctantly anglophile, spiritually materialistic and pro-domestic violence simply because it was so deeply ingrained in him. 

The baby’s first heart beat might have been where it all commenced. 

The inherent lack of independence she caused her mother, her mother caused hers, and so on, as far as we can remember. Or maybe it is the dearth of humanity we all so cleverly conceal. Or, as most would have us believe, the personal inability to fend for what we warrant. Takshit had never asked the question: what makes a man a man and a woman a woman?

Was it language? Was it biology? Was it circumstance? Was it natural, just like everything else and having a baby?

It was probably best that he didn’t ask- because if he ever really looked for the answers, he’d find out that he had never really asked at all. And that would destroy him. 

He had always fancied himself to be the enlightened, dreadlocked, Almighty. The one who thought more than others, the one who understood more than others, and the one who had left the others behind and risen above all: so much better, that he would always feign humility- such a perfectionist; that he’d never know he was lying to himself.   

He would marry a liberated, earning woman (the only respectable kind), and have children who mirrored the humble simplicity and wholesome goodness that he and his super-wife symbolized. 
He theorized endlessly, and seldom did- a trait he would never recognize, bolstered by his bourgeois claims to fame and chance access to money that was (in fact) hard earned (naturally, just like everything else and having a baby). 

Perhaps this paints too sorry a picture: he had often taken the plunge… upright and with his toes firmly planted so they would be drenched by the tame showers of the shore. Had he not, after all, done what no Indian would do: experimented? Was he not, what no Indian was; open? Did not the utterly respectable timekeepers love him? Did not everyone he met leave him impressed with his plentiful knowledge?

Questions designed to stimulate conviction in oneself seldom fund fact. 

The first insult from one who entailed unconditional love might have been what left the insatiable abyss behind.
The womb was where life started, the woman was where man started and the mother was where the child started. Takshit had asked an important question: why did she not accept him? He had asked for acceptance, and had been refused it so much that he would thenceforward unconsciously seek in everyone and everything unhesitating submission. He wanted to talk, but without being ordered to listen. 

He was ensnared in his childhood- not because of overbearing parents, but because he refused to take responsibility for his situation. He called them his mistakes, without the acceptance true acknowledgement warrants: he had always been so occupied with his own invention of acceptance that he missed its actuality entirely. 

Takshit, how do you open a coconut?
“You hammer it.”

Naturally, just like everything else and having a baby.

Perhaps Takshit was not a stereotype: perhaps he was as unique a case as he claimed to be: maybe it had all started afterwards, when hitting a wife or daughter or sister or mother was suddenly a crime. 
The timekeepers would certainly not approve of it, so Takshit didn’t speak of it to them. He asked whether it was good or bad to submit to social conditioning, whether education was a personal responsibility, but he never asked if it included the lessons of how to heal the scars of abuse. He never asked if it was abuse. He asked his mother why she called him names and why she traumatized him with histrionics and why she raised him amidst domestic chaos. He never asked if he was doing the same. 
America will never ask if she is to her Muslims what Hitler was to his Jews. 

Takshit, is your fight against communism or cruelty?
“I am using the only method imbrutes like you will ever understand.”

Takshit, could it be that you just don’t know how to explain?
“I am far ahead of what you cannot even conceive: creation comes with destruction.”

Takshit, do you think you only believe what it is easiest for you to believe?
“Go ahead and see where you get- this is India, everyone does this; and we understand far more than the world, see how they are all emulating us today.”

The little creature in his arms was his without a doubt. His to right the world’s wrongs with and his to fight his lost war with- a piercing cry interrupted our thoughts, and he saw that the baby had suddenly taken a ghoulish semblance- her face was warped in the most disgusting of ways, red, wrinkled and entirely alien: but it was natural, just like everything else and having a baby. 

Takshit had been anticipating the outburst, and promptly handed the hindrance away: this was one of the rare problems which he understood he couldn’t solve. Money had given him a certain infallibility his low self-esteem had constantly denied him. His coming across it had also provoked in him the belief that he could guide even the disinclined towards it, indeed, he entirely refuted the existence of the so unenthusiastic.  He grew to respect those who were abundant in it, because it was the only way to warrant the respect he demanded for it; and he grew to abuse those without it: not exploit per se, but he made them inconsequential.
There are far too many things that might have engendered his quickly disavowed materialism.
Takshit asked questions of religion and cultural identity, never taking cognizance of the forgiveness, respect and non-violence they solicited, instead claiming sensitivity by saving animals and killing prospective plants. 

Takshit, why have you not been able to do what you wanted with life?
“Because I was tricked into a marriage and my life was ruined by the women in it.”

Takshit, don’t you think you should take responsibility for your choice to revel in self-pity and be violently destructive instead of mature and constructive action?
“I took the road less traveled.”

Takshit, do you understand that respect is earned and not demanded?
“Get out of my house if you can’t live the way I’d like you to.”

Takshit, can you see the pain you cause?
“Do you eat meat?”

Takshit, you cannot always hide behind the faults of another.
“If you want to speak then go speak to mirror; conversations with me mean listening completely- this means you need to shut up.”

The unnamed being was soon named. She learned fear, and the need for feigned love in a world where love is defined by the physically, monetarily and psychologically dominant. Home was where the naturalistic qualities of desire, conflict and individuality were warped into materialism, manipulation and ingratitude. In fact, the natural had been decimated until only the most unnatural tinge of it remained: the conventional- within Takshit’s conventions. 

Takshit’s sense of adulthood, defined crudely by age, or what he saw as quantifiable experience, kept him from the reality of his inability to grow out of the rejected child he was. His creation of responsibility for the freshly named being was quickly fulfilled by provisions, and his own notions of parenting (she was, after all, his meiotic miracle, he knew what she needed: how could her needs be engendered within herself?). Takshit never realized that the management of newly created burdens didn’t imply that he was taking responsibility for himself; for what began long before the ignition of the one it fell unto take responsibility for generations past, to give to what would come- naturally, just like everything else and having a baby.

Takshit, do you feel sorry for lashing out?
“No. In cases of domestic violence, the perpetrator is often the victim- the violated should know better than to egg someone on.” 

Takshit, is verbally lashing out when you don’t have the physical means then justified?
“My mother should not have called me those names and treated me as she did.”

Takshit, what makes a person mature?
“If they are mature and sensitive according to my scale, they are mature.

Takshit, is a mature and sensitive person impatient and easily frustrated?
“I never signed up for this, and there are clear signs and there are boundaries that are not supposed to be transgressed.”

Takshit, who is an honest family person, with high integrity?
“To say one is family, one has to be able to give oneself up for the other, if needs be. To put the other one ahead.”

Takshit, have you put anyone else ahead?
“I have provided people with money by staying alone in hotels instead of being home with my family.

Takshit, has your family forced you to do this?
“Yes, they are manipulative prostitutes.”

Takshit, is anything in your life your own fault?
“Yes- see, I accept it”. 

Takshit, do you lie?
“Little excuses do not count as lies, they are just to avoid conflict or escape obligations.”

Takshit, is marriage prostitution?
“According to my wife, it is.” 

Takshit, why do you ask for thankfulness and appreciation in return for your money?
“Because I have given up my life and my happiness.”

Takshit, did you not give it up willingly?
“Willingly, but with a condition.” 

Takshit, what constitutes thankfulness and appreciation?
“A change in attitude as well as general behavior as well as specific behavior.”

Takshit, are you saying that you will only be satisfied when the attitudes and behaviour match what you perceive as appropriate?
“Yes, don’t like it, get out.”

Takshit, don’t you think the unreasonable near-impossibility of your demands are just a way to ensure you continue to have licence to feel sorry enough for yourself to justify your violence?
“You find it impossible because you are a base, vulgar and selfish being.”

Takshit, is your desire for thankfulness and appreciation not selfish?
“I am providing the money, aren’t I?”

Takshit are your methods not vulgar?
“You have not understood anything I’ve said.”

Takshit, will you ever stop to ask instead of answer?
“I do that already- it is you who must think, I am ahead of all that.”

21. List two methods to cope with Takshit?
(i) Yield to his inability to change, and (ii) play along with his need to change you.

Naturally, just like everything else and having a baby.        

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How to Fix an HP Deskjet 460c with a broken top cover and cartridge problem

DISCLAIMER: This might affect your warranty. I take no responsibility for any damage incurred by you or your printer because of these procedures. Proceed at your own risk.

To Fix The Top Cover Issue:

1. Remove Top cover.
2. Near where the hinges fit, on the top left, you will see a little square hole.
3. Fold a small peice of cardboard so that it is stiff and fits into this hole.
4. Make sure the peice is long so you can pull it out later!
5. Stick the peice into the hole.
6. Printer message should have disappeared.

To Fix the Cartridge Issue:

1. Take problematic cartridge out.
2. Soak a cotton bud (Q-tip)in a little bit of rubbing alcohol or clear (not colored) hand sanitizer.
3. Carefully clean the copper contacts on the back of the cartridge.
4. Check if ink is coming out by rubbing the cotton bud on the ink outlet at the bottom (metallic plate type thing)- if the cotton bud has ink on it you can safely assume it is.
5. Look inside your printer. You should see a corresponding copper contact there.
6. Soak the other side of the cotton bud (clean side, or take a new one) in rubbing alcohol and clean this carefully as well.
7. Ensure at all times no cotton gets stuck to any surfaces.
8. Do not try to print with an empty cartridge- this will burn out the contacts, damaging the cartridge and sometimes even printer permanently.

RESET THE PRINTER by holding the power, resume and cancel buttons down simultaneously for eight seconds.  

To Clean the Ink Service Module

PUT PRINTER COMPLETELY OFF BEFORE STARTING- remove the battery or any other power source. 

1. At the bottom of your printer you will see a removable tab.
2. Remove this tab, and with it the Ink Service Module.
3. Remove it's cover by loosening the 6 tabs carefully.
4. Remove the padding and sponge.
5. Clean the inside of the Ink Service Module with a cotton bud soaked in rubbing alcohol (or colorless hand sanitizer).
6. Ensure you dislodge all dried ink and then rinse it with water until it looks empty. You should see a little horse-shoe shape on the floor of the Module.
7. Dry the module thoroughly with tissue and dry cotton buds.
8. Replace the padding, sponge and cover of the Module.
9. Put Module back in place at the bottom of the printer.
10. Reconnect the printer to a power source AND THEN

RESET THE PRINTER by holding the power, resume and cancel buttons down simultaneously for eight seconds. 

This post specifically is exempt from the copyright considerations on other posts where I have not mentioned this- you may copy the text of this post only without attributing it to Khushboo Shah or linking/citing this blog.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dear Father,

I lie today.
You bought me up,
The best you could,
Shook off the poverty,
Your mother stood.
You gave me your wisdom,
So great and old!
It never burdened,
A youngish soul.
You made me your Frankenstein-
Did everything you said
Your mother denied. 

I lie today,
Caffeine high,
Warming my bed with melting ice. 

I am not simple because
I have read Europe and become it,
I think man can be questioned,
And that love doesn’t strike!

I am hoity-toity.

I want your three cell phones, and two laptops,
The expensive cognac that you never actually stopped;
An elite education on a rich, rich hill where
I eat meat and disco-hop to my fill with
Friends that you say made me perverse,
Their influence was stronger and worse.

I lied all the time,
Did what I wanted
Despite your discontent,
I was devious enough to
Give you my point of view,
And then defiant enough
To believe your concessions.

I have no scruples,
I was a child who couldn’t choose right from wrong,
I  am an adult who chooses wrong from right
Which is your word if I truly love
And respect you
Experienced soul exalted.

Dear Father,
I see today.
I know you’re blameless for my choice to be who I saw,
And understand that I must be Urja.
A breath of life and simplicity.

Parenting is providing,
You even socialized,
Violence is acceptable,
A means for a result.
Love is unconditional agreement,
No matter the cost.
Men are heavenly beings,
Whose gender-specific needs must be met.

And women are whores,
Who lie and manipulate.

I have hurt you by
Lying to you-
Saying I love you and then
Calling you a hypocrite who is
Not doing anything constructive and
Instead complaining and self-pitying
To give license to the need to strike.

I am not hurt to be called
A whore by you-
I know that you only say it
Because I am one and
You love me so much
That you make me aware enough to change it.

I am a slave to worldly attachments,
I know no truth or love,
I am only using you and do not
Actually care about you.
I only speak to you and write about
You and think of you because
It makes me feel less guilty-
After all,
I do not care enough to be indifferent.

You have allowed me so much!
What mercy!
I did what I was allowed-
How foolish and shallow
And uncaring of me.

I was supposed to be independent and
Cut a man’s balls off if need be,
But not to pick up friends
And go out with them
Or do anything that was not simple
And homely and good.

I’m such an atrocity-
I fight with you and shout at you
When you never raise your voice or
Become dramatic and despite all the
Money you give me- I am an ungrateful child,
Who does not appreciate your wonderful provisions.
I even push you to extremes,
Where you want to break tables
Or my bones to shut me up.

I don’t love you at all,
How can that be when I ask you
To let me be me?
If I did then it wouldn’t matter because
My Father, Dear Father,
Sacrifices must be made for love.

I lie today,
I have chosen a path.
Never to attempt to prove to
You my worth,
Or let my insecurities turn me
Awry or mad or difficult,
To believe in love and
Not to remember your words
Like you remember your mother’s
I see that you have had a
Terrible, horrible childhood and
Must be in a lot of pain,
I forgive you without offering myself
That escape.

I am not lying just now.
You are a wonderful, good person
Who is a little hurt.
I have hurt you more in spite of myself.
You have done your best as a father,
And I my worst as a daughter,
The best you knew with
What you were given.
The best I knew with
All that you gave.

You gave me enough to see that
I must not be trapped by what I have and
Instead be responsible and mature,
To not let myself be weak and wounded and complain
About anything, instead move forward and do things
For real reasons.

I have nothing to hold you responsible for,
Just the good I attribute to your example
Because even what seems to hurt
Only hurts until you decide to stop reopening the wound.
18 years is all I know and it is too long to
Tell the same story.
I implore myself to see the beautiful and not the gory.

Khushboo Shah

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Once upon a time, a humorist said that love is a fallacy. I never quite understood the import of his statement. And then, you came along. 

You were always the charlatan, never too close and disappeared long before you could disappoint. And I was proud enough to believe my appeal could make for a revolution.

I remember watching you sleep. You made for such an ordinary illustration- eyes closed, oblivious; limp and on your stomach, spread out like the tail of a horny peacock. Your long blonde curls, wanton but soft: a fitting imitation of your charming disposition. 

You made it easy for me to transform your confidence into conviction, make your curiosity my allure. Your mesmerizing, singsong voice and easy passion thieved away my reservation at the most convenient of moments. In your defense, I was eager prey. 

Your notion of love as being a transient, simple, enthralling, and uncommitted experience was certainly beautiful, and tempted me to forget all about how I was more conventional about love- I valued it’s unconditionality and the sacrificial aspect of caring it begets. Unfortunately, I remembered about it at the least convenient of moments. Again, I was eager prey. 

I’d memorized you. I think I could even pretend to be you for a day and no one would be the wiser. I knew you- and I knew what was coming, but I’d learned the delicate art of deceiving myself absolutely. It was fairly easy, everything blurred past us without reassurance, and spontaneity is the perfect guise for imprudence. 

I remember your room. Messy, but not smelly, and only messy until you had a sudden urge to clean, usually triggered by the sight of an ant on your bed, foraging about for stale crumbs of sweet foods. You’d run to the aerosol cans, your enviable hips moving distinctly, all the more prominent with  your slightly puffed pants and tight t-shirts. Stimulated by the fireworks, you’d walk out and light a bidi, and I’d watch the flame bring your pretty face alive with color before it ceased, still leaving your dead white skin aglow, but meekly; foretelling the brevity of your passion like a well written introduction. 

I always put the hearts (which I found desirable) first, followed by the diamonds (they are ever so beautiful), the clubs (barely tolerable) next, and the spades (the very ugliest of them all) last whenever I played solitaire. It troubled me infinitely to see them out of order: I’ve always found solace in the tiny details of routine, and even in the stark hallmarks of a scheduled life. But I could never live the clockwork- my thoughts are far too volatile and my emotions manifest themselves despite ardent determination. My open ways made this abundantly clear, and you knew me well enough to know where the window of effortless exit closed.

I wondered why you waited until it did for a long time afterwards, but at some point, even later, I realized it didn’t matter.  Our experience had nurtured me enough to eventually embrace the laborious birth into myself that was imminent. I feared I’d be lost without you, but I realized postpartum that your disappearance let me, in fact, be found by what I was looking for, at my terms. And it helped me find me: I uncovered myself afterwards, I realized that I was less willing to part with myself than I pretended to be, I became more aware of my idiosyncrasies and integrities and I saw that juvenile romanticism just wasn’t for me. I was so much happier with myself at the end of it all. 

I remember leaving. I built a little pile of domesticity, minus the bedding (which you’d need), right outside your door. It was a strange moment, seeing exactly what I’d brought you; but not half as strange as seeing your room without my touch. I felt like a bad clean-up technician had rescinded my existence with Photoshop. You weren’t there, because you were somewhere else, but not far enough. 

I was completely shattered by your methods. It was undoubtedly callous to subject someone to the vision of your utter indifference, and constantly at that. I suppose you had far too much to lose: there was barely a month left to embrace what you couldn’t before, and what is granted always pales in comparison. 

And besides, I can hardly blame you for being heartless. The young aren’t human; they’re still learning to be- immaturity doomed us from the start, but it was one of those falls that is entirely necessary. It helped me to see you so audaciously embrace everything you told me you wouldn’t, to be aware of the fallacy of our premise- and even more, to know I’d always known it. 

I imagine it was amusing to see me deal with the difficulty you posed. It wasn’t the first time it happened, but I’d never experienced anything like it at quite this proximity. You’d colored me invisible that year, and I was still unaware of how to give myself back an identity. I needed help, and it seemed natural that after everything I’d given you, you were the person to approach. You refused me consequence, and that just sank me lower. I had to reiterate my beauty and significance both to myself and to you.  I might have been extreme insofar, but it was the only way that I knew; and I was left in a place that refused to let me trust any helpful whispers. To make matters worse, I have no comprehension of social graces, I’m only extremely fortunate to be naturally agreeable most of the time, understandably not this one- and so there I was: tactlessly acting on every whim that struck me. 

I remember falling sick. Very little within me willed life- the image of my drained figure expelling the last glimmers of nutrition along with what sickened it seemed to mirror how my mind was banishing all my tenderness with its anger. I didn’t sleep at night, and the red night lamp of that sordid room still frightens me in the depths of my dreams. I’ll never forget the dirty brown of my bloody bile, the repulsion that it engendered, or the endless assault on my wrists and throat. I looked in the mirror one day, and recognized a flicker of myself behind my bloodshot, raccoon-eyes and bony figure. I was astonished and heartened; I expected that the illness would have erased me. It woke me up- you were irresponsible, and with full reason, even if you lacked warrant and moral consent. I was on my own, and would probably always be- it was mine to choose to revel in my individuality or repudiate it. 

I was glad not to be alone, glad not to have you thrown in my face. I had time to think, and love to fuel recovery. I made a few promises to myself, mindful that nothing would make me keep them. The process of avowal was what held more prominence with me- it separated my assumptions of self-sufficiency from its comforting reality: I would always be as alone as I wanted to be. I finally realized that the only way to be rid of you was to honestly let you go. 

I remember the emptiness. All that was left were the sheets, and the clothes you gave me. I finally took the sheets back, and you were finally, literally, gone. The room seemed long abandoned, although you’d left only hours before. It was cold, and too open to be inhabited. The little house with the crooked chimney and smoke which stood beside the spatially-deceiving tree was still there, etched on the wall- but it had lost you, and I felt nothing when I saw it. The moment, lamentably, lacked drama: there was no rush of memories, or sudden peace- only a prosaic and hard-earned apathy. 

As I stared at the evidence of loss you’d left behind, I wondered if I’d loved you. I thought I had, and I searched for that feeling, but I found a sort of emptiness that stung me in my chest and gut. I only loved you with what I knew of love, and that was not what you knew of it, leaving us both unloved and loving.
The humorist’s words struck a chord. The fallacy of love lies in its refusal to be defined.  


“Would you like a drink?”
“I don’t know. What do you think I would like?”
“I think you’d like a God.”
“Would a God please me?”
“A God would give you reasons to be pleased.”
“And would a God distract me?”
“So well that you wouldn’t even know you were distracted.”
“And would a God provide for inhibition?”
“Even better, a God would provide for excuses to act without either thought or conscience.”
“Is a God unbiased?”
“A God is but a vessel for bias- it is indifferent alone.”
“Does a God taste good?”
“Ask the millions who devour it.”
“Is a God addictive?”
“Habit and ritual tend to die hard.”
“Can a God alleviate pain?”
“Naturally, responsibility is pain’s creator, and a God is its un-doer.”
“Would a God unbalance me?”
“A God will leave no need for you to balance yourself.”
“Could a God kill?”
“It does provide the rationale for death.”
“Is a God dangerous?”
“No, but your perception of a God may be.”
“Must a God be regulated?”
“Power asks to be shared unequally.”
“Is a God socially acceptable?”
“Hidden, or in moderation, almost anything is.”
“Can a God elevate me?”
“Without you warranting it.”
“Is a God good?”
“Only as good you are.”
“Can a God be marketed and consumed?”
“Religion might provide an answer to that.”
“Would a God help me get laid?”
“Yes, he’d even help you get pregnant.”
“Is a God legal?”
“Although some say it shouldn’t be.”
“Can a God help me sleep?”
“Through change, love, and war.”
“Will a God get stronger with time?”
“Yes, and your resistance weaker.”
“Can a God be mixed?”
“To suit any taste.”
“Would a God make for a social atmosphere?”
“Brainwashing seldom fails to.”
“Will a God be there through all my joys and sorrows?”
“If you keep it close and want it.”
“I understand. Give me a God.”
“Right away.”

(Title credit to Avadh)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


He enchanted her the very first time she saw him. He was white at first, and beautiful, like she’d never been. And then he began to turn blue, like an Indian God. He had a hole in his heart, but she was infinitely mesmerized. She knew no better at her tender age. 

That is such a blatant lie- childhood being tender. She remembers it as anything but, she was at her cruelest when she was a child. Perhaps the insensitivity had something to do with the mixture of inexperience and optional responsibility. 

He had never been cruel. He did horrible things sometimes, but without horrible intent. He stabbed their dog once, but it was not bloody; he seemed to know not to pull the knife out. A dog everyone knew him to love deeply, a dog who knew him to love her deeply- so much so that she let him stab her without protest: not a growl or a snap. She knew he didn’t want to hurt their dog because he didn’t walk away from the damage he caused when he recognized it.  Lucky he could always fix it effortlessly with his boundless charm. 

She envied him deeply for that. She knew that their father’s words were true and that he was in fact angelic, and utterly pure and good; but she was not yet ready to be told she could never match his perfection. She acted out when she realized that what their father said about him was true. She acted out because this realization came long before she wanted it to and long before she was prepared for it. 

She pinched his dry white skin until it sang red and he whimpered in compliance to her demands. Sometimes she did that just for fun. They fought, hands, legs and anything else their growing bodies sprouted; but he never pinched her. He still hasn’t, not once. His mischief was always innocent, and will always be- the naivety of her nerves was testament to the fact. 

Always innocent, but sometimes dangerous. He loved cars, he’d line them up, crash them into each other, race them, and anything else he could think of: but he loved lining them up more than anything else. She remembers that he wanted to watch real cars line up one day, so he went to the road and sat down in the middle. They lined up for miles, and she wished she could have found him a satellite picture. It was genius. Everyone told her that he didn’t know any better. She thought he knew that they didn’t know any better of him. 

He taught her so much of what he knew, and ever so naturally won her confidence. He was always there to stop Him from hurting her, to squeeze her tears away with the longest of hugs after He did anyway, and he was always willing to do something brilliantly stupid to bring her smile back. He showed her what plain fun was. He made it easy to watch Lion King every single day for years and years, and he made watching flowers run with the gutter water for hours seem amusing. He was her dictionary for hysteric laughter and ecstatic pleasure; she drew off his limitless enthusiasm like a suckling baby and he offered with the generosity of a hearty mother. 

And so she gathered that she was mistaken to think she could mother him. He provided for her heart, with patience and forgiveness, never uttering a word about the past. He also had a healthy disregard for material provision, not the kind most people aspire to, but one which let him accept that what he shared wasn’t his. He brought her up without ever asking for the tribute or respect their parents had, and he still earned it threefold, the only way it could be.

He was always so infallible that it took a movie to make her consider that he might have feelings that one could hurt, or a life one could destroy. She proceeded to cry herself dry after she watched it, hoping that she could drown in her guilt and be exonerated. Somewhere between the crying and the reflecting, it occurred to her that if there was anyone who would let her be forgiven and start afresh, it was him. 

He grew beautifully, even more irresistible than before. He defined roles for himself, and kept himself busy with what he loved for the lack of what loved him. She started afresh, but at a distance. They were both learning new things about who they were. She remembers that he was the first one to know that she was becoming a woman, and he giggled and smiled with her until they were too tired to stay awake. No one really knew when he changed from innocence to not quite that- just that it was hilarious at times, and trying at others.
 But he shared it openly, and sometimes a little too openly; like the day he skinny dipped in the swimming pool and then proceeded to explicitly display what was testament to his manhood. The little girls squealed, the older ones turned away, all the boys taunted, and the scandalized adults chided in disapproval. He smiled, and smiled, and smiled: until the livelier of them all paused to smile with him. 

She moved away slowly, a step at a time. He never failed to notice, but he stopped asking for her when he couldn’t remember the last time together at dinner. He was still always overjoyed to see her, even when no one else was. He seemed to understand that she had to go away, more than their parents ever would. And she kept him in her thoughts and heart, never for a moment doubting that she would return to him, having found what he would never lose. 

She loved him, and he was special. Special because he was him; and not because of his short, stubby fingers, his soon-lost-when-smiling, slanted eyes, his eczema ridden ankles, or the little something extra that’s hidden deep inside the last layers of him: he was special because everyone is, no matter what.