Friday, July 15, 2016

Ignorance Is Bliss, Till It Isn't

I am not one for debates on facebook, this is something that I just needed to write out because of the sheer helplessness I feel when I read about the things people are going through, the things humans are capable of doing to each other. Because, they ARE humans, they aren't aliens. Calling them monsters or names, does not solve the problem. The problems lie within us. We have to face it and address it. 

I will not hashtag any specific attack, any specific country, because it is happening EVERYWHERE, EVERYDAY. 

Condemning attacks is all well and good, but Governments with all their money, technology and power need to take action. Psychopaths need to be dealt with. Hopefully the world gets some sense before we nuke each other out.

The fact that terror attacks are becoming as recurrent as movie releases in your newspaper should be alarming enough even for those living under a rock. There IS a problem of power-hungry sadists exploiting the stupidity of people, and There IS a problem of certain segments of people being exploited and brainwashed into doing these ghastly things. Diplomatic statements of "Terror has no religion", and everyone hearts everyone and unicorns are real will NOT help. Of course there are good people, but they aren't the problem, so every time a country, or religion, or political party is questioned, the answer is not the "good" people, the answer is the ones who are not good, the answer is to fix that. Not deny or justify it. Because people are dying, and it is closer home for each one of us now, much more than ever before.

People have become so oblivious to the real issues and so caught up in defending their personal prejudices or preferences that it is terrifying. The apathy regarding other people’s lives, or more so, deaths, is deeply unsettling and speaks volumes about the ignorance of the majority of us. The attacks in Bangladesh, Turkey, Pakistan, France, India… all that has been happening in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan.. Hell, everywhere except maybe Antarctica, should scare you. If it doesn’t, you are stupid. If you are debating wiping out a religion because they are perpetrators or because they are infidels, you are stupid and have been successfully used as the sacrificial, unimportant pawn. Not even the one that exchanges itself in return for a queen. You are the pawn that is used as a distraction to weaken and infiltrate the enemy and is easily killed without any sense of loss or victory. These bloodthirsty megalomaniacs are playing against humanity, using humans as pawns to destroy it from within. To weaken and lessen our right to live, to learn, to prosper. Do not let them fool you, manipulate you and break you.

Nobody's God needs saving, neither Saffron nor Green, nor any other colour, symbol, idol or idea for that matter. It is the people who need saving, their hopes, dreams and livelihoods. There are enough troubles in the world, without the need to save Gods and Goddesses. If one believes so much in their versions of the Supreme Power, it should be safe to assume this power can save itself. Do not let the Ellsworth Tooheys of the world manipulate you into believing that their agenda is some holy plan.  

Save yourself from stupidity, your gods can save themselves.

“There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. When you kill a man, you steal a life... you steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness... there is no act more wretched than stealing.” ~ The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sulky Days, Sunny Smiles

   It was one of those days, when one sulks. For no rhyme or reason, or at least, none that one wants to acknowledge. Or worse still, address. Where if you ask me, what’s the matter? I would probably blame it on you, and your incessant chatter. So, one of those days it was, and I was coming back from school. In our old fiat, white where it still was, rusted brown in the rest. An embarrassment then, a long gone loved one now. Mummy had made some snack for me and I had reacted by complaining, ungrateful that I mostly was, on that day, however, I was downright cruel. I feel sick sometimes, thinking of the shit I put my mom through my teenage years, mummy being mummy let me be. I chewed and swallowed the offensive food as if doing a great service to society.
   As I contemplated my depressing existence, the wrongs done against me and my boredom of school, home, and school again, the car stopped at a traffic signal. Great! First there wasn’t an air conditioner in the car and now this! Couldn’t we get one of those sedans, like esteem? I looked out, hoping to distract myself from the wet Calcutta heat, which was making my eyeballs sweat. The stupid sports bra, sticking to the godforsaken boobs that had decided to grow while I was still trying to get rid of the “baby fat”. Big boobs, bigger ass, waist length hair, I was a middle aged woman in a sweaty school uniform and my mom kept giving me more food. Life wasn’t fair.
   Suddenly, I heard a whoooosh. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh! Giggles and shrieks of pleasure. Right there, on the footpath, near the wet ground by the hand pump, amidst vegetable peels and egg shells. In the sweaty heat, and stinking filth, a brown frail child. Shirtless, bare-footed, with tattered shorts covering a protruding belly. Not baby fat, but a sign of malnutrition, we had learnt at school recently. A photo of such a child, in our text book, explaining why nutrients are important. Diseases, symptoms, food chains and classifications. Text that would fetch us marks, marks that were a number, a number which was never enough. This child, just a picture out of that text book, depicting disease, poverty, was playing with a broken kite. Dragging it on the filthy ground, making noises and laughing, shrieking, enjoying despite everything.
   Despite, nothing. For there was nothing. No house, no clothes, no food. No snacks made by his mother, probably the woman in the tatty saree, with the torn blouse, sitting near the hand pump, staring into nothingness. Nothing to shield against the scorching sun, not even an old fiat, with patches of white paint missing, revealing shades of rust just as the boys skin.
This child was happy. Why? Because he focussed on the broken kite he had, not the kite he didn’t, which could have flown. He ran around in the heat, because he could. He laughed, because what instead was he to choose? Tears? Anger? Defeat?
   The car started, and traffic trudged on, slowly at first, I kept looking at the child, craning my neck as I did so. He looked up from his game and grinned at me, all yellow teeth in full glory. I smiled back, hesitating at first and grinning as the fiat sped by, the wind on my face, the boy a brown speck amongst the grey, noisy traffic on that humid, yellow day.
I turned to my mom, who had drifted off to sleep. Probably tired from running around all day, for us. I gave her a peck on the cheek as I kept the finished tiffin box between us and she smiled with her eyes closed.
   Why wait to be happy or look to be sad? Usually, what we have is much more than what we don’t. I don’t know if that boy grew up to make something for himself, or if he wastes himself away. But, on that day, he was as happy as happy could be, which is more than what we can say for most of our days. I remember him, sometimes, and he reminds me to smile.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Walk Away

The story of a boy there was
He laughed and danced and played
But if you went too close to him
My God! His life was frayed
The wolves and dogs
Had shred some threads
Long back when he was young
But now when he is old and strong
The tatters are still strung
Holding on to them
In hungry, desperate snatches
In glorious myths
Of a victim’s strength
He forever latches
Be strong and walk away
Sooner than you can
Like a rabid cur chasing cars
He would chase you and bark
For what else could he do?
If you have any sense, run
And listen to his hark
You cannot float a sinking ship
Nor hold a broken man
A boy who holds his fragmented soul
Like daggers out to kill
Will never become whole again
Unless it is his will
So leave the boy alone
For your own good and his
It’s only his cross to bear
Always remember this
It is not your pain to share
So if you truly care,
Let him be:
For a mirror made of shattered glass
Can only show you in bits and shards

Some Words, A Prayer

It’s been a while, and many a miles
No words written, of lost and found
Of tears shed, of ties cut
Of healing wounds and fading scars
And so it happens, so I’ve thought
Words are not the frivolous kind
They are borne not of a happy mind
Or rightly so, they aren’t just the leftovers
Of merriment and gaiety
Of contentedness and peace
They are rain to quench the desert,
The battered, arid heart
When every last drop of you
Is squeezed and spent
That is when they fill the void;
That is when they are truly meant:
I talk of mortals, mere, like me
Who are but at their mercy
And pay the price of tears,
Of pain and of fears
To feel their power surge
Through my heart, my veins
And not of Gods, who command
These words, and at their will
Unleash them from their reins
I humbly thank you, for your kindness
For your healing touch
Today when I am smiling
I can only thank you very much

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Today when I go
I want you to know
I wish I could
Take you with me
We’ll talk on the phone
And not be alone
Yeah, Yeah; I know I know
But I want you with me
Today and tomorrow
Like till now it’s been:
In tears and in joy
In times thick and thin
You held me when
You were with me when it
Like sisters and more
Like soulmates so pure
I know this is mushy
But it’s chocolate and wine
So we’ll blame it on all that
And not call me drunk
But babe, it’s so true
You’re the loves of my life
And like crazy
Will I miss  you

Monday, February 1, 2016


“Hello Father, good afternoon.”
“Hello Lisa, a very good afternoon to you too. Have you come for a confession?”
“Yes, Father. Mom says I should speak to God if I am feeling bad about something I did, but doesn’t God already know everything?”
“Your mommy is right, sweetheart. God knows everything, but he wants to know how you feel about it. He wants to know if something is troubling you. If you think you did something wrong and sometimes even if you don’t think you did anything wrong at all, but the story just the same. Do you want to tell me what is bothering you?”
“I want to tell God, I tried to today, but I wasn’t sure if he was listening. Jackie was asking for a toy at the same time in his room. Maybe our voices got muddled? Then mom was calling me, she was making a lot of noise too, with the mixer and the ‘Lizzyyyyyyy… finish your milk!’ Maybe God couldn't hear me. So I thought I should come here. Does God ask you what people confess to you or does He sit with you in there somewhere?”
“You’re a bright little spark, aren't you? God listens to everything, but He also wants you to know that you are being heard. He trusts that I will not reveal your secret or be angry with you, so He lets me listen to confessions. Tell me Lisa, what is troubling you?”
“It is my friend Sahiba. She is also in my class. Class 3 section B. She sits with me since we were in KG section A. Our class teacher, Miss Ann, she calls us some twins, Assamese twins I think; but neither of us is from Assam, I don’t know why she calls us that. Sahiba is my best friend, but I don’t like her as much as she likes me. I like her more than the others, but I don’t like her too much because Miss Ann likes her more than me. I also don’t like her hair; it’s straight and long, not curly and short like mine. She isn't as plump as me either.  Mom says Sahiba is very smart because she got an A in the math test, I got a C. I hate her because she is better than me at everything, but I like to play with her and sit with her. I like the parathas her mom gives her for tiffin break and she likes my peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Maybe we have the wrong moms. OK God, don’t listen to that. I love my mom, don’t change her, just the way she cooks maybe. More like Mrs Grover, Sahiba’s mom.
Last week, I stuck a chewing gum in Sahiba’s hair when she wasn't looking. She saw it during the last period, and started crying because it wouldn't come off. I was telling her it will be okay, and she held my hand and kept crying even after Miss Ann tried to console her. I was feeling a little bad because of the way she kept sobbing and saying that she didn't eat the gum. Who would do that to her? I kept telling her that maybe she picked it from some wall or cupboard. When we were packing our bags for the day, she saw the chewing gum wrapper in my desk, near my pencil box. She looked at me and ran away. I felt bad, but I felt angry at her. Why did she think I did it? Doesn't she trust me?
She came the next day; her hair was chopped off till her shoulders. She wore a pretty, pink hair band. It had a cream bow on one side. Her hair looked pretty, but not as much as when she had it long. I felt a little guilty, but it would grow back again, right? Also, I was angry at her because she thought I did it. I thought she would sit with Ananya in the first bench; they both seemed to get all the ‘A’s anyway. They might as well sit together but she came to our bench and smiled at me. She asked how her hair looked. She told me that her mom had taken her to the parlour for the haircut and for ice cream afterwards. She even got a new Barbie and asked me if I would go play with it that evening. I hate her. She’s being nice to me so that I feel bad. I know it. She has been the same every day, just like she was before. I hate her God, she is making me feel like a horrible girl. Why won’t she just fight with me once? Why won’t she tell Miss Ann, my mom or her mom everything? Maybe she told Mrs. Grover, but I didn't notice anything when I went to play with her Barbie. Mrs. Grover made these tasty pakodas for us and green chutney. God, why can’t Sahiba hit me or steal my new pencil, the blue one that she liked? If she does that we’ll be even and I can try not to hate her. I think I am a bad person God, and it is all her fault.
That is all Father. I don’t know what else to say. I am sorry I did that to her hair, but I hate her even more now because I also love her and I know that I hurt my best friend. I don’t know what to do.”
“Lisa, stop crying child. It is OK. You were brave to come and speak here, and God knows that you are braver. You should talk to your friend, you should apologize and you will not hate her or yourself anymore. You are a big girl and a good one at that. You did something wrong and you want punishment for it. You are repenting in your own way. You know what repentance is, dear? It is this feeling that you have, that you did something wrong, that you wish to be punished for it and that you wish for it to be known. Talk to your friend, your punishment will be over then. You will be honest to her, you will say sorry to her and you both will remain good friends. Will you do that child?”
“Yes Father. I hope she still likes me after that. I hope God likes me too. I promise I will not do this again. I promise to be a good friend.”
“Good girl. Now run off to your mom. God needs to listen to many more secrets today.”

Sunday, January 31, 2016


A moment, a dime
A quick slice of time
A chance or a bet
Skip paying a debt
Sometimes, it’s the thrill
Of a lie or a kill
The power, the strings
A pull or a dip
A stitch there, a snip
I stole that from you
I had some, got new
It’s not that I am bad
But that moment I had
All that I could
More than I should
The thrill of the guilt
Maybe it’s how I am built
But the deed is now done
And damn was it fun
I know it was wrong
But the urge was too strong
And look now I know
Next time I’ll say no
But that mark that I made
Is the price I have paid
For those hidden scratches
I take payments in snatches
Of future hits
In pieces and bits
This is what I’ve become
Ever since I begun
This is now what I am
And what I shall be
Just lock up this secret
Let the door on it slam
And chain it and lock it
And hide what I am