Saturday, July 21, 2018

Maybe This Is An Attempt To Normalize My Reality and Conquer It

I am back home after 2 years.

I am struck by the warmth of the people surrounding me and the ugliness of their surroundings.

When I look at social media posts from fellow Kolkatans, it feels like they are trying to hide the ugliness well: carefully chosen Instagram filters, pictures taken in posh new restaurants, an excessive need to highlight the gorgeous food they are bingeing on - and yes the food is gorgeous, the mangoes are sweeter than ever and yet...yet... things don't feel quite right. There is this weird juxtaposition of abundance and the piles of garbage accummulating all around-  as if that is a reality nobody wants to face.

People keep their trash out on the streets so they don't have to be alert about the garbage collector's whistle. Every morning garbage collectors come and whistle for the residents to come and throw their garbage on little portable tin vats, there is a word for these vats but it escapes me. So it comes about that noone likes to run with their garbage like a Pavlovian dog conditioned to act on a whistle. I get it. But throwing their trash out on the streets- kind of counter-productive, no?

I ask myself if things have always been this way.  Am I simply more acutely aware of my surroundings now? When I emailed my mentor that I was back and would like to meet her, she asked me how I feel about Kolkata. She asked me if I was feeling the shock. I had puzzled over the word for a bit and then had felt the need to sugar coat it and say that I was glad to be back among familiar people and things.

But things of the past seem to haunt me now, more than ever. I go through my closets. I go through all the stuff that we have gathered in this house and it is overwhelming. Have we been intrinsically sad people? Do we hide from the ugliness of our surroundings by filling up our houses with more and more? Why do we have so many things? Why do I have so many clothes? Why is my mother simply accummulating things she buys? This is quite literal, I see gifts she bought from her visit to Nebraska last year, gathered like a tomb inside my closet. She hasn't gifted them or used them, they are just there, like conquests....

"are you feeling the shock?" why yes, yes I am. It makes me sad.


I think about my History lessons and how throughout the years people have always wanted to conquer- this need for putting man's mark on things, to call it theirs..."my city" an instagram caption would read...the dirt, the grime, adequately filtered away, reality conquered. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Why Is It So Important to Have Witnesses To Your Life?

We have always romanticized friendships. Gone as far as to relegate people to the "best friend" box and the "worst enemy" box. For some of us, the boxes are more nuanced, less boxy.

The thought of having friends have been crossing my mind lately.

People gather together, yes. But there are always reasons. To study for an exam, to sit and have drinks together because graduate life can get boring pretty quick in Lincoln, Nebraska. "There isn't much to do here," I have been told, repeatedly. These are probably the kind of people who like being overwhelmed by activities. I think I was one of them at some point. But I take it as a ruse now from getting away from being with the thoughts inside your head.

Then there are the friends back home or the friends far away. We crossed each other's life at some point. And then we stopped witnessing each other. It happens all the time. It is easier to get in touch with friends now, if we choose to. But has it truly been easy to get in touch with a soul? We get so lost in projecting and covering our asses from judgement. We are so afraid of judgement.

Forgive me for sounding so cynical, but I have been a little disillusioned by the idea of friendship lately. I think it's just a sugar coated way of telling the world, hey, we practice the act of give and take. We run an emotional business with each other.

How many heartfelt, honest friendships have you had in your life? Be honest with yourself.

More importantly, is having heartfelt honest friendships important in the grander scheme of things?

I read a lot about surrounding yourself with positive people who are supportive. But even if I were to do that, it is because I believe it is good for me. Not because I am craving friendship. Again, a means to an end.

Why is it so important to have witnesses to your life?

Hard questions. Yes.

I feel a little silly for writing this. The fear of judgement runs deep. Some of you reading this might think "oh she is probably justifying her loneliness." Maybe I am. I don't know.

But I also know that I have never felt more comfortable being in my skin, just here, sitting with me, writing out my thoughts.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Marching On....




Trees are like that sometimes.
This one, rejoicing in its bareness in the blue sky, limbs outstretched, dancing in the sun
When I walked by her this morning, I couldn't help but feel that she was hiding her pain. 
The kind that leaves you gnarly, twisted, rugged 
You would miss it in the dark
But there was the blue blue sky and the mellow yellow sun 
It was a happy moment but also a sad one. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

PMDD - A poem

The unhappiness is so deeply embedded in me

Waiting to choke the tears out of me

Desperately squeezing the will to survive out of me with a sharp claw, clawing at my heart

Making my face contort into an ugliness that only I know

While the tears stream down and I cry silently letting a desperate sigh or a groan out.

It throbs inside me like a lion pounding against a hard wall

Making my insides ache

I listen to a dog barking outside

I try to channelise my sadness onto the dog, poor creature, anything really, anything that might make more sense than this no reason, empty evening that is making me want to wring my life out of me.

I ask myself "what will make you feel better" but nothing comes from my soul.

My soul is empty

My soul is desperate for the outside world with its many lures and traps - waiting to distract it so it could forget for 2 seconds that it doesn't want to be here.

The world is not cute and that is okay.

Don't get me wrong, I love my boyfriend's cat.But after all the cuddles and the catnip, I realise that I am basically furniture to him. No, no there is nothing wrong with that but I don't know why I always feel the need to cute people, cats, dogs (fishes?) up. I told the boyfriend, that if he really thought about it, this is how children are too except less explicit- heck this is how people are. There is a need that each of us fulfill in our lives and because we can't pay for these things there's a lot open to interpretation, adjustments, expectations etc

There is this space in your life  where you feel small or not enough. We are constantly being told what to do, how to be, what would be convenient for others.  There will be traces of it everywhere you go, whatever you touch. It's my theory that this happens because I cute people up and expect the best from them. I don't know why this is my default setting - where I simply expect that person A is texting me because person A simply enjoys texting me- there is of course a lot going on under the surface. I have this tendency of "cute" ing people up -  Maybe it is my cultural conditioning- my gender conditioning? 

There is nothing wrong with people texting me, but in my version of utopia- or if like in Electric Dreams I truly could wear a little thing on my head and go for a vacation - it would for sure be one where I get to read people's minds - here is why I am sharing this with you, here is what I need to hear, here is how I am feeling - probably not cute, glorified lit up thoughts- but telling it like it is. Telling it like it is is definitely big on the news now. Women are telling it like it is. Did you know that on average women smile more than men? I wonder why we do that? What are we hoping for? What do we need? Again are we cuteing it up? 

 Our brains have been hard wired to think in certain ways. Relationships aren't transactional, love is transcendental, it's all roses and balloons- well, you could have roses and balloons and know at the same time that in a couple each of you are fulfilling a need for each other. It isn't all cute. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The First Step

This space has seen such a lot of turbulence. 

I don't know what to make of it now. 

There has always been a need to write but I feel like there was much to be written about and much to be understood that was not done here. Enough of dwelling on the past though. Research is primarily what I am interested in now and creativity is another aspect that draws me intensely so it feels wrong to ignore it completely. 

I want to make this a more positive space where I talk about research ideas, what I've been thinking and what has been intriguing me. Right now it's gender, environment and economic experiments. Go Figure! 


Also reading has been a vital part of me and I have managed to keep doing it but not as much as I used to. Right now I am on the last book of the Neapolitan series of Elena Ferrante. These  books have seen me through some really challenging times. 

Why did I come back here? Because I meant to write down yesterday , as a Valentine's day ritual, things that I love about myself. (cliched, but necessary). But then I was tired and stressed and crashed into bed as early as 10:30 pm. It's 8 am here, it's been an hour since I've been awake writing down things that I love about myself. I felt like I needed to start my day with this, before the day crowds every single thought out with its noise and tumult. One of the points I wrote down was "I am creative. I write well" And then I asked myself why do I not do it more often then? 

So, here is me taking the first step. 

I didn't want to perfect this or shame myself into not posting this after the decades it has been here. I don't consider this any witness to my creative skills. I just wanted to start somewhere so I get to where I envision myself as already being. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

This Post Has A Lot Of Dots In It

It's been a while...

The times have rolled and meandered.. little tiny wheels

And of course there's an awkwardness

Hopefully it dissipates like a cold drop of water under the sun.

Totally not trying to write a poem.

We are on summer break at the end of which wait the important daunting life altering exams- the Qualifiers. Studying for the Qualifiers is a lonely heartbreaking process wrought with a specific boredom of old lessons ...that must make new sense.Hence the need to be candid about the feelings... they are always felt...but there have been very seldom times where I've sat with them. I'll have an extra cake, color co-ordinate my closet, clean the kitchen...you get the drift...

This is me trying to sit with my uncomfortable feelings.Uncomfortable for me is - that feeling of being abandoned...rejected...not thought of.... and it's always there like a dark shadow just beneath the skin...waiting for reality to mess up in one tiny way so it can ooze out.It crawls at the back of my neck and peers at my whole body like a sadistic lecherous beast and I know what's coming so I try feebly to look at the phone, to do one more...fun thing. Go away...I want to scream but I know I can't keep at this for too long. What is scary is how real all the lies I feed myself become and how much they rile me up in  weird imaginary bouts of cramps that never seem to leave.... it's always there...the ache, the sadness waiting patiently to take me by surprise again. It is always a surprise- fresh and naive like a child playing peekaboo. 

Of course it has very little to do with how things really are....I understand that now. I should be thankful and I am. 

I write this and keep it as honest as I can because I care....Because sometimes I almost convince myself that I don't...when all my life...really...I've just cared too much.