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.