Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Kuttey

Faiz Ahmed Faiz‘s Kuttey (Dogs)

Yeh galiyon key aavaara bekaar kuttey
Ke bakhsha gaya jin ko zoq-e-gadaai
Zamaney ki phitkaar sarmaaya un ka
Jahaan bhar ki dhutkaar in ki kamaai

Na aaram shab ko, na rahat saveyrey
Ghalaazat mein ghar, naaliyon main baseyrey
Jo bigrein to ik doosray say lara do
Zara ek roti ka tukra dikha do
Yeh har ek ki thokerain khaney waley
Yeh faaqon say uktaa kay mar janey waley

Yeh mazloom makhlooq gar sar uthaey
To insaan sab sarkashi bhool jaey
Yeh chaahein to duniya ko apna bana lein
Yeh aaqaaon ki haddiyaan tak chaba lein

Koi in to ehsaas-e-zillat dila dey
Koi in ki soee hui dum hila dey


- Faiz

Sunday, December 29, 2013

small world

Premchand-Prerna-Agyaya-Kalaakar Ki Mukti-Pingmalya-Aparodita

Farooq Shaikh-Wikipedia-Azhar ka Khwab-My Fair Lady-Shaw's Pygmalion-Pygmalion-Aphrodite

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas

For a while I had been shying away from showing my face here. I did not want to appear weak. I would come, talk in bits and pieces, disperse the thoughts, lest they should be interpreted. But as splintered mirror continues to reflect, I continued to write and they were all put into drafts but the broken words continued to give me away. 

There are times now I feel my time here is over, that I need to start anew. Perhaps start from the scratch  - a new blog perhaps - make a symbolic beginning? I don't know.

Baharhaal, it is Christmas today. I have always liked Christmas. Precisely because I was not born a Christian but a Hindu. While growing up it meant that it was a festival alright, albeit without the taam-jhaam that regular Hindu festivals made compulsory. A laid-back kind of a festival for us, manaya manaya nahi manaya toh bhi theek.

Heh. I will write again. Soon.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

questions, questions

It gets a bit tough to work toward anything when the thought that everything is purposeless has kept one engaged for so long now. I am not being a pragmatist here, I have no qualms doing purposeless things, purposeless in a worldly way, I mean.

The thing is that I want to then take leave to pursue things entirely unrelated to my work till now. Why is it that sometimes my work (in the field I am in right now) does not leave me with a sweet taste in the mouth? Hungry for more the way some other things do? Doesn't it make me a scoundrel then?

OR is it that the 'other pursuits' are so sweet because they are the 'other'? And it happens to all of us?

OR perhaps I need some more belief?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

London on my mind

I miss London when in Delhi. May be it is the cold. May be it is the need to be by myself again. Wonder why Tesco is missed the most. Grocery shopping was always my favorite.

I miss the London chill that surprisingly is less piercing than the one in Delhi. Or may be we were better prepared for it. I miss tick-tocking my way in leather boots bought cheap from Oxford Street. I miss cooking the way I used to, almost boiled bland veggies that I enjoyed having. I was never very social there, except for being with a few friends I hung out with. I miss the fact that so much was happening there, and yet I would most prefer being indoors. I hated meeting people in big groups. I still do. It is usually very few people, 2-3 max that does for me. Unless I also drink. Then I am everyone's friend. Yours too.

I miss our kitchen couch in the hostel. The blue and the red one. Northumberland Hall and then Butler's Wharf. Walks that I had near the Thames to clear my head. The utter confuse and the chaos inside. Queen's Garden. The photographs. The library. The Strand past Trafalgar Square, the ever busy Charing Cross. One green light and crossing the road in unison. On to the other side. Keep walking and a series of Subways and Pret A Mangers and the red phone booths which are never in use. Beggars on the street. Cold and wanting. The bent on the Strand and Musicals pass me by on the left. West End. Sagar! The south Indian restaurant with a north Indian waiter. He was so old that you felt bad placing order. Papadom. On way to school I would pass another Pakistani joint where one could get veggi samosa and coffee. In the mornings 50p could get you a coffee. And for 90p a coffee and a croissant.

On past the Kingsway. One more road was crossed with the crowd. On the left - Houghton Street. One or the other crazy thing kept happening there. But when nothing was on, it was nice. Wooden bench. And the Wright's Bar. Another place to get coffee. 60p. and for 90p a bag of chips they called it, was really a box of fries.

Black stockings, brown boots. Overcoats. Black hair. Black bag. Rushing to class. hating some lectures. Long thursdays. NAB. So many libraries on strange floors. I was busy, in semblance of love and it was very very cold!

It had been so long I had thought about London that I had nearly forgotten how it felt. That I lived there for sometime and now that time is past me. Mumbai will also be forgotten perhaps. But, no, I will be going back now and then. Have been in Delhi for more than two weeks but not really been out once.

I have grown to being an outsider everywhere. To know in the head that I am not here for long. Nowhere for long.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Correspondence

Last night two random things led me to read about two people who lived in different eras, but had written to their lovers till the time they died . One was David Hume who, they say, loved Hippolyte de Saujon, the estranged wife of Comte de Boufflers and mistress of the Prince de Conti, who never was quite Hume's, yet they shared an "intimate friendship".

Her husband soon died allowing her to wed the Prince, but he would not agree to marry her. Hume confessed his love for her but it wasn't reciprocated in similar fashion. Yet their friendship continued and they continued to write to one another.
He corresponded with her until the end of his life. In fact, he was on his own deathbed when news of the Prince de Conti's death reached him. Yet he took up his pen to commiserate with the greatest love of his life.

And at the letter's end he said goodbye: "I see death approach gradually without any anxiety or regret. I salute you, with great affection and regard, for the last time."
The other was Eloisa who loved Abelard. Their legend goes as far back as the 12th century and slightly varied versions of the story can be found on the internet. The one I find most credible is that Abelard was the teacher of Eloisa and a promising philosopher. They loved one another even as Eloisa's family disapproved of their love. Eloisa becomes pregnant and her uncles get furious at Abelard. She is sent away and in time delivers a boy. To pacify her uncles Abelard proposed a secret marriage, to which Eloisa refused, thinking it would harm his career. Abelard then convinces her to go to convent. Her uncles mistakenly think Abelard is trying to get rid of Eloisa and have him castrated. A eunuch now, his career is destroyed and he turns to religion, while Eloisa becomes a nun. Separated, they write to one another for twenty years and meet once before they die.

Alexander Pope in Eloisa to Abelard wrote of their legend:
In these deep solitudes and awful cells,
Where heav'nly-pensive contemplation dwells,
And ever-musing melancholy reigns;
What means this tumult in a vestal's veins?
Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat?
Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat?
Yet, yet I love!—From Abelard it came,
And Eloisa yet must kiss the name.
.....
Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose,
That well-known name awakens all my woes.
Oh name for ever sad! for ever dear!
Still breath'd in sighs, still usher'd with a tear.
I tremble too, where'er my own I find,
Some dire misfortune follows close behind.
Line after line my gushing eyes o'erflow,
Led through a sad variety of woe:
Now warm in love, now with'ring in thy bloom,
Lost in a convent's solitary gloom!
There stern religion quench'd th' unwilling flame,
There died the best of passions, love and fame.
.....
Not Caesar's empress would I deign to prove;
No, make me mistress to the man I love;
If there be yet another name more free,
More fond than mistress, make me that to thee!
Oh happy state! when souls each other draw,
When love is liberty, and nature, law:
All then is full, possessing, and possess'd,
No craving void left aching in the breast: 
.....
No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole;
Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll!
Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me,
Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign;
Forget, renounce me, hate whate'er was mine.

Occurrence and recurrence

We are always capable of fooling ourselves; as if events that occur, occur as part of a plan.

And as if the arrangement and the layout was our construct, making the events seem bearable, falling into their designated spaces in the grid of our understanding. We ascribe some method to occurrences and claim that some thought had gone into their happening, even when there was none. The smart ones among us also name them. Not that we are always wrong (for who knows?) but more often than not we might not even have come close to discerning why something happened. All what we think about occurrences in our lives are essentially retrospective, and by definition speculative. Thus, lust could become love, co-incidences could become fate, commonalities (common attributes) could become similarities (resemblance) and the like. Such freedom then and such burden, when one can write one's own past.

----

In an earlier post I had written about recurrence. I was concerned about content then - what would a writer write that he hadn't already put on paper before? I have more to write on that. The more things recur the more they lose their relevance. If one were to know that everything could or would happen again, the essence of such occurrence in it is own time would be lost​. And would it not then go on to spoil every chance encounter, every impulse, each spur of the moment? 

​W​here would go the sweet impatience? One that makes us do what we thought not, and (perhaps) ideally ought not. The stakes of omnia aut nihil, all or nothing and the joy of stealing that one moment - with knowledge that it is all or nothing, now or never. What better exercise in courage? 

Only if something were to happen once would we really have lived it; recurrence convinces that everything is a rehearsal. To some it may be a respite, to some it is no less than a sentence. Each recurrence could be damning, one is assured one will better it, one thinks one might be able to. Such knowledge is crippling.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Untitled

There is nothing to write. Nothing really. Not a word comes my way that doesn't sound like a paraphrase. Redundant and a complete waste. Yet I write to hold on to myself. If I stop writing there will be lost even a semblance of cure.

I want to be honest. I want to talk to someone I do not know but trust instinctively. And till that happens I continue to be jittery. I remember a few years back..I used to be able to talk, write so honestly.. at the time I might not have possessed the wisdom(?) to understand what was happening but I was able to convey. I used to be able to write about things unabashedly and the least of my concerns was pride. Now a certain shame has crept in. Shame in feeling something. Shame in expressing. Shame in grief. Shame in acceptance. Shame in sufferance. Shame in honesty. Shame in shame.

I am around my people now but the isolation has only grown. It is bothering me and I am unable to call for help. I lie. I pretend. But I wouldn't talk straight.

It is easier then to remain eclipsed.

Daagh Dehlvi

Uzr Aane Mein Bhii Hai Aur Bulaate Bhii Nahiin
Baais-E-Tark-E-Mulaaqaat Bataate Bhii Nahiin

Khuub Pardaa Hai Ke Chilaman Se Lage Baithe Hain
Saaf Chhupate Bhii Nahiin Saamne Aate Bhii Nahiin

Ho Chukaa Qata Ta'lluq To Jafaayen Kyon Hon
Jinko Matlab Nahin Rahta Wo Sataate Bhii Nahiin

Ziist Se Tang Ho Ae Daag To Jiite Kyon Ho
Jaan Pyaarii Bhii Nahiin Jaan Se Jaate Bhii Nahiin

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My 26th

It was my birthday yesterday. After two years I spent the day with my family and close friends. It was a quiet day, till evening when we drank silly. The night before, I was woken up at 12 at night and a cake was brought in and cut. Early the next morning my friends arrived- three of them - woke me up and another cake was cut (home-baked this time) even before I had the chance to brush my teeth. I am glad I have these friends around me. Sometimes I can't think of a reason why they are there, why don't they forsake me like some other seemingly more important people did. May be that's why they are my best friends.

You know I always say that friendship can be trampled on, that no gifts, no surprises, nothing special is needed to nurture it - it just finds a way. All you have to do then is to not disappear, never leave without a word, respect the other. And I still abide by that. But surprises, expression of love are things I must learn to value. They warm one's heart, bring a glow to one's face, reassuring at all times. And for all this I am thankful. (When were we last time really thankful?)

------

It has been two days now that I returned - the displacement continues. Was thinking about how there is no sukoon anywhere, and then I read this:

rahiye ab aisi jagah chal kar jahan koi na ho
hamsukhan koi na ho aur hamzabaan koi na ho

bedar-o-divaar saa ik ghar banaayaa chaahiye
koi hamsaaya na ho aur paasabaan koi na ho

pariye gar bimaar to koi na ho timaaradaar
aur agar mar jaaiye to nauhaakhvaan koi na ho

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kuch din

Kuch din huye main sundar kam hoon
Kuch din huye kitaabon ke panne peele parne lage
Kuch din huye ek cup chai zyada lagne lagi
Kuch din se bambai bohot akeli hai

Kuch din se akhbaar mein khabrein kam hain
Kuch hamara bhi khana peena band hai
Kuch din se cigarette gale ko lagne lagi
Kuch din se baarish bhii nahi hui.

Already. Already.

I am going through a continual déjà vu - everything has happened before, everything is happening again. Have I been here already? Lived it already? Lived in layers upon layers, as if the time never passed?

And then, more importantly, what does it leave me with? What can I then possibly write that I have not possibly written before? Is there a new emotion left somewhere or have I exhausted them all?  

All of this reminds me of Nietzsche's Eternal Recurrence. And how much I want to read all of him.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

कुछ और बकवास

बहुत बहुत बहुत मुश्किल है. यूँ दिन का रात करना। दीवारों को बस ताकना नहीं, वो तो सब करते हैं, दीवारों से आँख-बचाना। सिर्फ मुश्किल नहीं, शर्मनाक मेरे लिये. समझ नहीं पाई कि शर्म किस बात की।

इतना सुन्दर तो है ये घर. बस दिक्कत है की ये मजबूर करता है सोचने को. ज़रूरत से ज्यादा और वह भी जो सच नहीं। बिलकुल नहीं। 

आए हैव बीन हम्ब्लड! किताबें काफ़ी नहीं!

बहरहाल, कुछ दिन की बात है अब. यूँ अकेले में बड़-बड़ करना बंद हो जाएगा। वापसी हो जाएगी। 

PS: मुझे जेल हो रही है या मेरी रिहाई?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gravity


Gravity. The movie actually lifts you a few inches into the air. You're afloat while you watch it and when it ends you simply glide out of the theatre. Weightless. And Clooney..a treat to watch. Ever the unputdownable among men.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

फूल-प्रूफ़

नेहा. सब कुछ समझना इतना भी ज़रूरी नहीं। तुम्हें क्योंकर लगता है कुछ है भी समझने को. जियो और ख़तम करो! हाँ ठीक है, माना तुम्हें कुछ (अच्छा, बहुत कुछ) बुरा लगा. तो क्या? लगा. लगा. लग गया.
---

आज दिल्ली याद आ रही है. घर याद आ रहा है. कुछ देर को ही सही 'घर' जाना है. कुछ ही दिनों में परेशान हो कर निकलना है वहां से, बड़बड़ाते हुए शायद. तब ही तो वहां जाना, वहां से निकल भागना, सब एक सुगठित प्लान सा लगेगा। फूल-प्रूफ़! ऐसा नहीं की मन में आया और चल दिए कही भी. अरे! हमें तो पता था की हम परेशान हो जायेंगे! और कुछ साल बीतेंगे तो कहेंगे खुद से - आह! कितने दूरदर्शी थे हम!

सच ये है की इन आँखों में नाम-मात्र भी दूर-दृष्टि नहीं है. कभी तो लगता है दृष्टि ही नहीं है. इधर-उधर गिरते-पड़ते चलते हैं. कुछ दरवाज़े खट-खटाते हर शाम. फिर खुद ही से कहते हैं, "अंधे हो क्या!"
---

क्या बकवास लिखा है! और तुम पढ़ते भी गए!

Monday, October 14, 2013

monday rains

I'm in Thane. Just had methi parantha at a small joint here that goes by the name 'My Kitchen'. Sometimes when I get ready early and have time to spare I come here to have my breakfast. Very boring, very sada and very delicious. The place used to feel hostile earlier, what with everything written in Marathi on the huge flex board menu right above the counter. But I am not here to talk of flex boards and the like. I'm writing because it suddenly started to pour. I don't have an umbrella and so have to wait here till the rain subsides, even my bag is made of cloth. And while I was having my coffee, served in a thin paper cup and continued to read my book..I had a sudden urge to write. It must have been the rain that did it. And so here I am.

I think the rain will come down a notch or two in a couple of minutes. And I will start walking towards my place of work. I will spend another day working, writing..and taking in the same bits of poetry again and again as if it were all written to reassure me. A song or two might follow and then some philosophy I might give in to. I would chit chat a bit with people at work and then I would go home once more. Tedious few hours would pass and I would secretly enjoy myself while all the same lamenting my being lonely.

Yes, I love it here.

15 minutes later

No. It didn't stop raining. In fact, if anything it is pelting harder and I am not happily disposed in the same eatery anymore. I took a longer route to the work place for reasons that had better remain undisclosed, and in the meantime it started to pour again. And I'm standing under a shed in a shanty. Praying my slippery slippers wont give me away today. I don't want to fall on my butt.

30 minutes later

At my desk now. All drenched and dripping. Having waited under a tree and a tin shed for as much as I could, I finally started to walk back. Mid-way it again poured. Running was not an option given my slipping-prone chappals so I had to walk even more slowly. One foot at a time.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Prophetic

How prophetic can it get? As if what ever title I give to this blog would turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, staring me in the face. Foot in the Door hurt me hard enough, thought I would never be able to walk by myself again. Rushing in would meet the same fate I know. Fool that I am. But then, how do they do it? The 'wise' ones. How do they put a brake on the flow of words. Doesn't it make for a screeching silence? A screeching halt, that never quite ends? And if they are able to do it and survive, (oh yes they thrive) why can't I?

Jane wo kaise log the jinke pyar ko pyar mila?!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sweet abandon

Daresay I am falling for myself again, savoring the emptiness around. The sweet absence and the abandon. Of roaming around the house wearing nothing but a t-shirt, two sizes too big, a cig between the fingers, a book clasped to the chest, messed-up hair tied untied alike. Sitting In the balcony, on the floor, on the kitchen slab and pick up from where I'd left. Put on old music, soaking it up; fingertips brushing against the wall, the surfaces, the cold tap water, empty utensils - the mundane beauty of it all. Countless cups of black tea in either of the two mugs, as if taking turns. Now red, then yellow. Cooking in the evening; glancing across endless possibilities. Now and then breaking into an impervious smile.

Want to not let go of these times.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

what is wrong with the death penalty? #delhigangrape

I have read many people commenting on the social media about the gang-rape verdict today. Many people, people I admire and whose ideas I find resonance with have shown a lot of emotions ranging from happiness, relief, downright celebration and the like. Since last some days I had been deliberating on the matter, especially after I heard some otherwise non-violent, sensitive, rational, thoughtful people discuss the issue. Some of them women, some men - those not used to giving in to populist emotions or beliefs. But this case turned the tables. It reminded me how academics who did not support torture under all circumstances started to support it after the 9/11 attacks. But more on that in some other post.

Having listened to some of my friends, I could not any more deny that their arguments carried an honest emotion, it also carried anger, pain and helplessness on their part. At times I was at a loss of words because what counter-argument can you possibly give where it is being continually invoked that an innocent life was brutally raped, tortured and left to die by these men who are now sentenced to death? The collective hurt of these people was palpable. As if personified, it said that something needed to be done, that they want to see something being done.

As expected, all the four accused have been sentenced to death by the lower court, by terming it the rarest of rare cases. In addition to the other offences of rape, kidnapping and torture - the act of murder under S 302 IPC in this case singularly also attracted the highest punishment. To challenge myself and to see if my belief truly holds ground, I questioned my deep set rejection of the death penalty. For a day or two preceding the verdict, I avoided any conversation on it and awaited the judgment and tried to accept the upcoming verdict as ‘justice’. I tried to tell myself that perhaps, perhaps there are those cases which could trump the abolitionist argument that there is something intrinsically wrong with the capital punishment.

I do not argue that the rapists in this case should be shown any leniency; I do not think there is any circumstance under which this horrific act should get reduced to a statistic or an unfortunate incident. I have no cause to have any respect or sympathy for the convicts or the desire to see them out of prison. Yet I continue to believe that capital punishment is not a solution but a violent response. The legal reform, the behavioral change that should have accompanied such rage is nowhere to be seen. That what is intrinsically wrong with giving the State a right to take life gets clearer. That capital punishment legitimizes the act of killing at the hands of a state - something that the law seeks to discourage and repress.

Apart from the intrinsic wrong argument which challenges our sovereignty and hands it over to the hangman, the media and that what catches popular fancy, capital punishment serves no purpose, except perhaps that of quenching the "collective conscience" of the people. This collective conscience is a vague term which smacks of majoritism. It promotes the notion that if the popular media (which is definitely not conscientious) and the society (which is mostly urban youth) creates enough mayhem, certain people - convicts - may be executed by the State. Not only does one find it discriminatory but also arbitrary, the discretion of a judge is involved in a matter as irrevocable as death and not just in quantum of punishment,

The second argument covers the deterrent aspect. We are bound to think, we like to think and our common sense agrees with us that where there would be death penalty there would be a stronger fear. Then why is it that in countries where there is a moratorium on the death penalty there is lesser crime since such moratorium was brought into effect? Capital Punishment has no more a deterrent effect than life sentence does. Scores of studies from around the world have proved this and one is not only talking of the so-called developed world, where the ground reality may be different than ours. Besides, the idea of taking away life is barbaric. In short it gives a message that we are a violent society and we collectively want to be violent. That justice for us is retributive and that is what gives us satisfaction. Then how are we to ever convict and punish a man/woman who takes the life of the murderer of his/her family members? Why shouldn’t retributive justice pardon him or her just as it is sending these men to the gallows? It doesn’t, because justice must not be seen with a retributive lens, thereby executing people, but with legal reforms, sensitization, dialogue among policy makers and better policing. Needless to say harsh punishment should be meted out to the convicts but not the death penalty – because by nature it causes the irrevocable act of killing and collectively makes us a violent people.

Within the moderate group, many have resorted to cheer for the verdict by calling the convicts less than human. But by brandishing them as non-humans or less than human, a fiction is being concocted to justify the death penalty ‘this once’. They are not any less human, even as they committed crimes which are extreme in nature. Not in the crime they committed and not in the punishment they would and should go through. Because when one calls them less than human - it opens up another fictional possibility that they should/could be given a leeway, an exception stands to be created. It thus becomes important not to justify one’s stand on the death penalty in grounds of the convicts being non humans. To be for or against capital punishment is one thing, but to create a fiction as justification for hanging people is a fallacy.

------

When one deliberates on it from the point of view of the young girl and her family, one sees these four convicts as human beings who have stooped down to a level which is unimaginable, caused the girl pain which most of us shudder to think about. It is then understandable why there must be scores supporting the death penalty. Then one tries stepping back a little. Retreat and see the society from a bit of a distance. One sees the media, the social structure, the men and the women, the placard bearing youth and "hang the rapists" written on their banners. One also watches the four men being hanged to death – 19, 20, 26 and 28 years old. And then you realize that life went on, more women continue to get raped, inside their homes, within their marriage and on the streets. What remains is a message such verdict gives. The message that the State holds the ultimate power to take away life, thereby undermining our own sovereignty - allowing for the idea to exist that 'life' could be for the State to take.

Could it be that in India it would have a deterrent effect while in other countries it might not? Is the abolitionist movement one of those Western ideas that some humanrightswallahs have adopted without understanding the socio-economic-political reality of a country? I do not think so. Mistaking this as a victory for the 'struggle', the morchas and candle-light vigils could be missing the point. For if it were a victory, then why is it that not every rape post this one made for the headlines and created a furore? To borrow from a friend, "Why is it that only the crimes towards our own class boil our blood?" Collective angst aside, the fact that most people from the affluent class get away from the capital punishment while those at the lowest end of the periphery get the death row cannot be ignored.

There is no way, under no circumstance that an execution, however heinous a crime may have been, calls for celebration the way it is being seen since yesterday. The loss of the young girl's life has shamed us, violent and celebratory response to the verdict has only lowered us further.

Friday, September 13, 2013

meditation

I have been writing, only not to post since some time now. Going through a lot of pessimism. Not the first time I have felt this way. All I wish now and since sometime now is to attend a Vipassana course, meditation happens to be secondary, I really wish to be calm. It has been recommended to me by two people now and I wish I do it at the Dhamma Giri Centre at Igatpuri. Why specifically this one, I know not. I have known the efficacy of meditation once or twice before. And as much as it is difficult for me to 'listen' to people and do as they say, this once I wanna see how it goes. The times are not that good. Sometimes it is good to listen. 

*hold hands*

Monday, September 2, 2013

grumpy.

I just posted a belated post. Realized I do not like to write this way. And while some may feel my earlier style of writing was more about myself, the latter is downright 'updatesy'. The way these latter posts sound, I feel trapped in myself. 

Not for me writing about the daily drudgery. It seems simplistic. As if I am hiding something. What do I have to hide? And why should I write for others to read? Do I have to? Ugggh. Okay, sulker, I will have to look for a path in-between the two. I would write of facts but I would write the way I please. I am not a happy-happy character - cheering all the time. If anything, it is the 'super happy' folk that annoy me most. This is not to say I sit gloomy in a corner, for I don't. I know what humour is and I give it its due, perhaps more than most. But sounding happy has nothing to do with being happy or being in good humour. Good humour comes and goes, these forever happy, chatty, bubbly people spoil it.

It is Monday and I am up since long. The fever only got worse after Friday. The plan is to visit a doctor before work. There is so much in my head I want to write about but for now must go see the doc.

Friday, August 30, 2013

on and on

The day was great. Workwise. Even though I started late, having wasted my time here and there, trying to get into the right mood, the right setting, the right sitting, right amount of black tea and right music plugged in my ears - I finally resumed work after two days. Having watched one senseless comedy show or daily soap after the next (for my flu-inflicted brain specifically demanded that), I was surprised all I wanted to do today morning was to run to work lest I should laze or the medicines start to make me drowsy.

First I went to a computer shop right outside Thane station where I got this keyboard exchanged. As if it wasn't enough that my Mac's keypad went bad, mouse is tricky and mouse pad gives little electric shocks now and then; now the external keyboard also stopped working. I don't know how good this one is but it's making nice tak-tak sound. That's all I care about usually in a keyboard.

So well, the best thing to have happened yesterday was that I realized how much I missed work. Alas, how difficult, nay, offensive, it is to say to your friends. You see, It is against accepted social customs to enjoy your work, to look forward to office after 2 days of sick leave. You gotta have some life. Well, I don't. Not when I am away anyway.

As I sat analyzing the responses of a respondent I realized how interesting her story was. Add to it the previous 10 interviews I had analyzed, each woman's story, individual responses to similar questions were throwing up so many gaps, surprises, horrors and intermittent relief. And the more they were different, the more they settled into a particular theme. Each woman's present age, the age at which she got married, education, husband's education, household income and number of live issues and abortion history -  the basic characteristics - would also tell a story. It was perhaps in the 11th interview that I finally had the data 'speak' to me. I had heard some researchers talk about this earlier. How their data is or is not 'speaking' to them and how the latter bothered them. Also whether their data is 'rich'. And I would be left wondering, half dismissing them as dramatizing their work. But it happened, it did. Making me wish it were a working saturday so the office would be open.

I will take my laptop and this keyboard to a cafe nearby that I like. I like the cafe owner too but that's an aside. There I would order my favorite– Chamomile Tea– and finish sorting and analyzing the transcripts that I have brought with me from work. 

Soon I will post some pics from my field work.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Yeh shaamein, sab ki sab shaamein!

The days are being spent in office in the day and a movie almost every night. Starting Sunday, I have already watched Khamosh Pani, Sooraj ka Saantva Ghoda, Shatranj ke Khiladi and as I type this The Making of Mahatma stands paused. As for reading I have finished with Rashmirathi, a book I finished right before my trip home. Having returned I brought back with me Charitraheen. The former moved me to tears at times, forcing me to put it down and take a break. Such passion was there in the verses that it brought about goosebumps! An amazing amazing read. Ramdhari Singh Dinkar's marvel! Charitraheen is actually a bit of a drag right now, reason I've turned to movies. Usually I find Hindi or Hindustani literature unputdownable. It doesn't have to be racy - it manages to strike a chord deeper than similar stuff in English and so the unputdownability of it. As discussed with someone yesterday, may be it has to be about Hindi being our first language. But I have written about that before, wouldn't repeat now. 

You'd be wondering why all of a sudden I am taking names, of movies and books etc! I have been meaning to write about books that I read, movies I have watched recently or prose or articles I have found interesting and even music, ghazals, shayari. Usually people share such stuff on facebook. I have realized I am miser in that. The more I like a piece of art the less is the chance that I would share it publicly. Not because I do not want to 'share' per se, because nothing else would give me as much pleasure. But because I cannot bear it being out there among people who know not a thing! But then in some 'generous' moments I do do (share, ie) and am able to talk about the experience of something with those who know more than me and in that I undoubtedly learn a bit more. But I do share on email with those I know would appreciate and relish or at least think about it. 

Another reason is that i want to document it all and like I go back to read stuff two or sometimes three four years back, I might enjoy reading about what I used to read and take interest in, two-three years hence.

I have much more to write, but have also to do something for my dinner. Oh, by the way, I have caught slight fever and throat infection. Missed work today but tomorrow there cannot be any excuse. Either from home or office - work I must. I do not have too much time. While I finished with data collection ahead of my schedule, the analysis part is turning out to be more tricky than I thought. Heh, has to be. It is all about women!

More later. 
xoxox

Saturday, August 24, 2013

:)

For all the criticism I subject myself to, one day, and the day is not far, I am going to love myself so much that another's love might become redundant. A lover's love to be specific. It is so easy to tell the truth and so difficult to be honest. Have I been honest? No. I've had my share of wayward impulsiveness, and of indecisiveness where I took time deciding when time was of essence.

Here I go again talking about myself. The idea was to reflect, remember? To present a reflection on the outside world and not somersault on my own turf. Part of me is so self-satisfied and at ease here that it is an effort to care to be readable, to be understandable.

I will try.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

my first qualitative research

Today I come to term with things and write a loving mail to myself. Enough of nonsense. I am sitting in my office, looking pretty with my hair let loose. It feels good, the tip of the finger tapping the keys. I never noticed that before. You know how they say our finger tips are most sensitive and receptive to all touch. :) 

I had a presentation at the Santacruz office yesterday. I had already woken up at 5 to make the presentation and left home really early to reach on time. The presentation was more like a mid-research thing where I spoke about the data collection, the resistance I faced and also shared with the audience some initial findings which might or might not hold true as I analyse all the data. The meeting done with, I sat down with Mr. G, a gentleman from UCL who works with us and very senior to me in qualitative research. I had asked him for a brief interaction earlier in the day but the idea of brevity was brief. He and I sat talking and discussing my research for almost 2 hours. Though I enjoyed listening to him and posing a thousand questions, it has also made me anxious about the analysis and the subsequent writing of the report. If I was thinking data collection was difficult, analysis is even more so, not to forget the sheer pain it is glossing over people's responses again and again to the questions I posed, chalking out the important themes, grouping the themes together and then very very meticulously question my own assumptions and try to find supportive evidence. 

Then there is the thing about each individual respondent. I had promised each respondent that her identity will not be revealed. Each interview preceded a formal consent note which I had made them sign. So, of course, I need to code them. For instance, a respondent who is from rural background, aged 21, with two boys, is a Muslim and went to a public hospital for obtaining abortion needs to be identified by something like this:  R21MPu2B. Ahem. Similarly for all 30 of them respondent women and then the 10 doctors I spoke to. Not only does this codification helps retain their identity and hence my keeping my promise, but also helps us come up with findings when women with similar background or religion or experience at a health facility give similar responses (or not). 

Once the codification for the respondents is done I need to identify categories within broad themes as I go reading the transcribed data. Along side each category I also need to write the exact quote or paraphrase from the respondent, which is mostly in Hindi or translated in Hindi from Marathi. Once all of this is done for nearly 40 of all respondents I need to group the themes and do the triangulation part (which I still havn't quite got a grasp of). Having done all this I need to them collate the themes, question my own suppositions. At times also being skeptical of the respondent's responses and try to balance what the literal response is viz-z-viz what I feel is the real response, in light of other evidence.

All this while would continue note-taking and points to take note of later. I might need to go back in the field to make sure I am not making a mistake. Having done all this I will then start to actually write the report, go to libraries for literature review, get the latest statistics, discuss the findings, support it with evidence and if possible come up with few recommendations.

Though it is great that I now know a bit about qualitative research analysis, BUT without a good reference point about any of the stages and all I am currently feeling like a lost puppy in the midst of piles of data and voices and transcription and notes.

Muah!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

:-|

I am listening to the same chill-out music I used to study to in London. Amazing how music and scents make us travel back to the time and place. It is Northumberland Hall, Edward VII Rooms, slight chill in the air. I'm in the computer room in the basement. I am found here at all times all hours, much to the surprise of many others. There, the corner PC and table is mine and those books and post-it notes and what nots. I would go out now and then to read my notes and pray for the printer to work each time I had a new stack to print. It was good then, wasn't it?

Back here with the music on actually isn't bad at all. There are some girls in the office talking in Marathi. Not a word do I understand. There's the 'Maushi' here who gets us tea and does the cleaning etc. Even after 3-4 months here I still cannot tell if she likes me. I think she has it against me that I do not know Marathi. 

The monsoon continues. As long as the sun is not out I am good. 

I am seriously planning for the PhD. At times I think it is a good idea, at times I feel may be I should wait. Also the fact that I don't want to be away from home for that long a time. But I have some good ideas for the research and with a little bit of support I can flesh it out and draft a nice proposal.

What is it with me that I wanna do everything. I want experience litigating, I want to also do rural research, I also want to travel and present papers on health issues and then I want to teach too. Somewhat. Why don't I wanna decide on one of these and just do it? Cz it sounds boring.

I have lots of pictures to post. Will do in time. Bye for now.









Friday, August 2, 2013

Amalner

Stuck in a lodge in an unknown town. There is a power cut. It rained crazy all night and continues unabated. The pelting on the teen ki chhat is making a deafening noise, it is hard to even hear oneself. From the window I just saw a band of dogs chase away stray pigs. Pigs in distress make sounds similar to cats in distress. Had never heard pigs before.

There is a strange couple in the other room. The man keeps in the balcony for most times. Staring people, me, everyone. He is with a woman who I feel is not his partner. Of course I could be wrong. This couple never ventures out except in the evenings for dinner, around about the time I return. They seem to be keeping a low profile, hence my interest in them.

I am hungry now. I always need to eat first thing in the morning. Nothing elaborate but something, anything. There is a makeshift shop near by, a redi-wala who makes excellent south indian food. My first morning here, the watchman brought me dosa from the same guy, it was delicious. If the rain stops and the dosa guy opens shop I might be able to have it again.

My return is not yet confirmed. If I am able to secure interviews today I can start for Mumbai in the night and reach by morning. If not, I might have to stay a bit longer. I want to stay for tomorrow and visit Ajanta caves. Also nearby is the first philosophical institute of India named IIP and opened the same time the IITs where formed. There is also a temple of Mangal here where they suggest I must go.

It is now raining harder than ever.

The watchman/caretaker here, an old interesting man, just poked in through my open window. He has switched on the generator and would get me hot water now.

More later.














Sunday, July 28, 2013

talking to mom

A strange quiet and hopelessness would slither in my head till I would try and put an abrupt end to it by engaging in one senseless thought or another.

I am happy that it did not happen today. More so because I am then not someone who can't be happy for others. How selfish are we essentially to find hope in other people's joy as much as a selfish glee in their misery too. It is all about us then, is it not?

Let me talk of other things. I am not in touch with the family, except my sister. I find it very difficult to talk to my mother between fighting tears. Tears whose source is yet unknown to me. I can make a guess but it might be as wrong as it may be right. To know that she is fine and alright is enough, I defer talking till I can crack a joke or two, till I can make her laugh saying silly things that I say only to her. I miss her even as I speak with her and because she is my mother it is difficult not to go to her. I instinctively go to her at times and then as if I seal my lips, I never talk. At times she senses something but I hurriedly keep the phone down on some pretext. I have always only wanted to show my mother (and father) my happy self, the strong self, to only bring joy to her and never grief, no one's, not even my grief. So it may be that she has to wait a bit before I call her one of these days in all joy and tease her or make a couple of 'our' jokes and hear her laugh. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

as things are

It isn't helping. I find myself in two places. The day is different and then comes the morning after. I dread mornings. Every single one of them. I am tired of running away. Tired of picking myself up and smiling and listening to music or reading only to keep away the loneliness. I want to do it no more. I want to be fine. I think i am in depression and there is nothing I can do about it. I work hard, I am the last one to leave work and among the first ones to arrive. I take pleasure in my work and I am well-rewarded too. On weekends I try to get out of my comfort zone to meet people to 'be out there'. An effort I started to make just now. Earlier it was just me and the balcony I would use as my hideout. 

I am tired of holding close the reins. As if the moment I loosen my grip on this hysterical angry giant bull I am riding, it will throw me off and trample over me, killing me. Why is this happening? And how did I ever find myself here? 

I want to work on it no more. I am tired of running away. Where has my strength all gone and why am I so ashamed admitting that I am not that fine? 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

new day

It is a misty morning. I woke up earlier than usual and am out in my balcony. It's drizzling softly through the mist.. and at a far distance I can see skyscrapers looking like little blocks with which children play. And behind them stand the hills, wrapped in white clouds. The trees are swaying, with little birds in them. Perhaps they all got drunk in the rain all night. And I am sitting here on a white plastic chair in my polka-dot pajamas. Looking up at the sky, looking as far as my eyes would take me. I'm looking forward to another day.


Sent from Samsung Mobile

Monday, July 1, 2013

unnamed

We don't know each other. We have never met and yet, there is so much we have shared. You have hated me for reasons more than one, and even as you did, you never had the peace of knowing that I knew of your hatred. Even if I had known, I would never have understood it. For how could one hate someone one doesn't know? But you can and I am glad you can. I'm glad it is easy for you to hate as easy it is for you to love. You are truly free in that. But to me hate and love both seem impossible. My mind won't let me love, my heart won't let me hate.

Sometimes I steal into your photographs and try to read what's there behind those eyes. Is there another one like me, as afraid of life to come and as remorseful? I guess I shall never get the answers. We don't know each other, but in the family of life, where times make relatives out of strangers, you and I have lived the same life, met the same end. In that we are siblings.

I do not cannot hate you. Because for that also I need to know you. And to really know you I have to love a bit of you. What you and I have is beyond such notions of love, hate and knowing - complex notions these (but at least they are named). I wish you weren't at this place, not because it would have altered my fate, but because I wouldn't have spent night after night thinking of ways to become forgetful.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

foot and doors

Just now I read the name Foot in the Door, not as a bridge between two possibilities, as intended, but a foot that's caught between two doors and man, it hurts. Long time I wrote. Was busy mending a broken heart, trying to revive my health and my mood. I have been writing but to myself again. Writing of things fleeting by, writing of mundane and the ordinary, writing of what happened on my visit home and then tossing it all into the dustbin. 

I promised in the last post that I will, and so here I come. Tad too late perhaps, but you would understand. I had been reading some blogs today, by guys a few years elder to me. I noticed how they write, the gaiety, the chirpy laughter, the many comments, the whole hearty experience of it. And I then looked at my blog - I noticed how dark it had become, as if a winter had come never to leave. Not that I do not enjoy it, a certain gravity has always attracted me. But the blog had become so grim and rusty at places that fungi might have started growing by the sides before long. So I changed the template today, and even though I do not like it at ALL and in all probability will be changing it again, the fresh look is a breather.
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I wish I had it in me the passion and the belief to sit cross-legged as I am, and cry out loud to the skies, the winds and the lands. And with such fervor proclaim the ownership of my self! Once again.

Monday, June 10, 2013

home and the world

These past few days had me take an urgent short trip to Delhi. It left me not wanting to return. The last couple of days I was holed up in my plush new apartment in Thane. Without a book, a working television or my laptop. I suffered as I ached to write. The writing had to happen on the screen, surprisingly, as I see it now, it never even occurred to me that I could write with a pen on a piece of paper. Simplicity again dodged me. So I stood in the balcony with stray drops of rain making me shiver now and then and as I often do, I wrote in my mind.

I ached for you, blog where for once I can close the doors to the world and let my self be. And even as I write this I know my writing has lost a certain essence. A part of me hungers for it, the rest is scared, lest it should be back.

I am at a precarious junction. The reality back home is exactingly different from my world around here. I feel the homesickness of the homeless. But where is my home to be found?

I do not wish to trouble others, but I think I end up doing that. I know I will spring back again in some days/months - as is the human wont. Till then I seek solace in you my pages. And this time I wouldn't wait to write on a screen. I would write. Just write.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

the rules

Yeah, there and back again. I am. The past few days were challenging. The city of Mumbai ruthless, its people rude. But then I don't think they have an easy life for themselves anyway. Travelling in local trains as a newbie here is daunting. They actually consider it a 'mistake' if you happen not to know that you are to be at the door (at the edge of it) WAY before your train arrives at your destined station, that you are to ask most women ahead of you where they will get down, because most of them like to stand on the doorway even when there is space elsewhere, or if you happen to be like me - someone who can't, for the life of her, get off or get on a moving train - you have sinned to the fullest - you should be getting off and on in the end (which I am forced to do otherwise also). And yeah, do not trust girls with your East and West exits. More often than not they lead you in the wrong, of course they are themselves mistaken. And if you happen to be the poor one who is sitting as the fourth person sitting on a bench that ideally seats three - God forbid. Do not move an inch. They will gnaw at you with their words if you do. No kidding. And these are working women - office goers. I also realize part of why I have a problem is my natural resistance to getting knocked about. I am getting used to it. I am also learning to dress more suitably here. Covering my head and face and neck with a long scarf to save me from the sun and pollution on roads and in rickshaw. Most often it is just my eyes that show. But better be covered than be roasted.

All in all to make life a bit easier. I have started to come home late. Takes longer reaching home but I reach alright.

there and back again


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

a ray

After days of darkness I see a bit of sunshine today. Like a solitary ray of light streaming in after an age of darkness in my dungeon. Little particles of dust shimmer, ridiculing Newton's gravity, dancing a mad dance.

I had forgotten myself so fiercely that I failed to recognize who I am. So busy was I berating myself for not being like any other person that I was preparing to die. Hopeless, guilt-ridden and hopeless again. Guilty, as if it were my middle name and no matter what I could not rub it off my chest.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

the ages

It's sweet. The younger me, the naive me..to hug and to care for the old me. Has it just been 2 -3 years? And yet, how much I have traveled  not in miles but in the mind. And I ache to be that girl again. The one cried the first night she spent in London, the night her most ambitious dream had finally become a reality.

I ache to be that girl who I hurt - I know things could not have been different perhaps - age plays its part - and yet I feel for her and what it lead to for her. may be I am wrong in saying I want to be her. Away from all of my past, in a new city where I hardly know anyone, I have come to belong my old self. Ah, the warmth of an Indian city meeting the warmth of my old self.

Today while reading some old posts from 2012 I realized that so much has changed yet so much has not. I am still that little girl running to her blog to find peace. I will always be that. Why is it that the world is not enough to talk to? It is talking to myself that gives some relief.

---

I have tired of 'trying'. I do not want to do that anymore. You may say I am giving up the fight before even preparing for it - but then exactly, I do not have the courage, I do not want to go through it all and I do not want to see a doctor to answer why. I don't and perhaps that's the end of it.

There is a lot of grief. Not only in every aspect of my work in human rights, but in every cell of my body that seems to have lost the zeal to live. How can I then love? How can I then hold someone's hands and make promises? When I am trying hard to hold myself lest I should leave me stranded mid-way.

I had love for that little girl even as I was that little girl. Somewhere that self-love is missing. What I see right now is a person who let herself down and I am reluctant to hug her, tell her that 'hey girl, you are me and I love you'.

Blog, you will be seeing a lot of me.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

the whole spectrum

From soni sori's handwritten letters, to stories of sexual abuse by those in the family,  to subtleties of "sahmati, poorv-anumaan, chaahat, chunaav, haan, naa, shayad.", to my own personal account.

The perks of being sensitive are downward spiraling.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

reminder

I realize just now that everything I have ever done, been proud of having accomplished or been a part of, has been a result, not of any stated curriculum or compulsory coursework. More often than not, from a university point of view, it has been unnecessary, unasked for and even at times unheard of. It was pure initiative on my part when I went up to a speaker in a panel and asked for work, or applied for work even if I did not yet have the credentials, or did more essays than required. Not to say that I have accomplished a lot - it is just that it were the small initiatives where I worked to learn, toiled myself without pay, recognition or even a certificate of internship, that paid off. Mostly, it has been the one nervous phone call - asking people I found interesting in the field if they would let me work for them - for no pay and if they agreed, dedicating my self to the work. After college hours, on Sundays, during summer vacations and winter breaks. And I don't think I missed out on any of the fun either.

Why did I do it?

I hated being at home so avoided going back after college. Sometimes I was running away from the tragedy of a break up, sometimes it was curiosity and sometimes I was sick of the curriculum. But mostly, it was my dad's discouragement that did the trick! I had it in me to prove myself or die trying. I had a cause.

Why am I reminding myself of all this?

Because I need to recall. The appreciation is dousing the flame. I have stopped rebelling as much, or struggling if you like. It's not that I am encouraged now, just that I have stopped caring to prove - as often happens when you leave home. I'm 25 and I know where I can be. If I have to taste the sweetness of being where I want to be doing what I want to do - I will have to keep myself hungry, I have to keep the cinders burning.

You know it now, girl. xoxoxox

Monday, April 15, 2013

Me amo! Te amo!

Hey!

Today is another day! I am happy right now and for once I am going to write it all down without feeling that writing or expressing the fact that I am happy will take it away from me. God knows who put this into my head.. but as if following a superstition I have been ever wary of expressing my happiness in words.. perhaps it is a way of avoiding a potential 'fall' from the happy state. As if the expression might jinx it or perhaps the feeling will vanish. 

Right now as the moment stands - I am ready to forgive myself. I am also ready to accept myself. I am beginning to hold myself again, wrap my arms around myself. I am ready to love and be loved. I am ready to smile and laugh and work. I am even ready to try to love Bombay. (okaaaayy..ready to try, at least. hee)

I might very soon shift in with a friend within my locality only. Living alone is certainly not my thing. I can stand hating a flatmate for a thousand things, but I don't want to be the only person in the house anymore. After London I had started to believe I would be fine - but, no siree!

By the by, I got my visiting card made. After months I am feeling proud of myself. After days of agony today I can feel the sunshine. I am able to love freely! And even if this feeling passes me by and fear takes hold of me - I am ready to fight it and reclaim myself.

I must not let fear boss me about. Que sera sera.

Which reminds me that my lessons in Spanish are going beautifully. I am actually feeling more confident now than I was before. This week I shall take out some time and sit with it.. get a hang of the verb conjugations, glossary and write the two small essays I am supposed to write on "Mi Casa" and "Mi Familia". Looking forward.

Love you, me. Love you, you!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

blank stare

Looking for myself. So depressed I can hardly look up and walk straight right now. I want to see less, observe less, feel less. I want to meet less 'kind' of people.. I want to NOT think that deep all the time.. I want to go back into old age and be happy, really happy for once..unmindful of things that I see. Once in another post I had written, 'If you can see Thestrals, you would have witnessed death'. I do not wish to see them now. I do not wish to see these things that bother me, make me feel I am not one of many. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? To see things, and to want to be one of many.

There are so many questions in my mind - when to listen to what and whether to listen at all. I run to my sister for answers, she is more like me than anyone else is - but even then, our lives are not identical - hark, far from it. I am ever able to talk to anyone in such language. Never. I talk in other words and sometimes they get it sometimes not.

Taking an aerial picture, what is it that's bothering me? Isn't everything fine? More than fine, any one else would say. Then why am I afraid to be happy when I am. Why am I terrified when I should be strong. 

I wish I find the answers, they will come to me I am sure. But then I also know that there is no learning, unlearning going on here, there is no right or wrong decision may be, there is nothing called fate, there is simply nothing to this life at all. THERE ARE NO ANSWERS. What makes you think your life is so important? 

Is it not?

I think I am having an existential crisis.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Update

Been and now back from Delhi. Holi it was - with friends - good fun. Especially the beer part. Loved staying at home, with mom dad and my sister.. missed Panther while trying to forget, went for walks and sneaked out at times.Had a few fights, some love too, had home-cooked food, brought some back with me. Never knew I loved Delhi so much and how dry Mumbai really was to me. I have stopped calling it Bombay even. I've stopped caring!

All through the flight back home - kept thinking why I loved Delhi so. Was it the roads, the lights, the metro .. and I realized it wasn't that Delhi was grand - just that Mumbai is unbearable (to me). We pampered lot in Delhi get frisked about all the time here in Mumbai. While in Delhi it is always about 'yes, I matter', here it is almost writ large on everyone's head 'you matter not, nor do I'. Quite an equalizer Mumbai. You are basically a see-through here. A cellophane!

My mom doesn't get teary-eyed easily, she never once did when I left for London for months on end. But she did this time. I couldn't figure it out. She said, 'because you aren't really happy there'. I did tell her I was fine and that I just missed being around her and my friends! But well. 

But I have friends here and I get by. :) Have missed two Spanish weekends, hope to catch up tomorrow. Have much to write. 

More later.







Wednesday, March 20, 2013

मातृभाषा

कभी कुछ हिंदी में लिखा पढ़ती हूँ तो सच लिखने का दिल करता है. सिर्फ सच. मानो सब सच हिंदी में ही बसा है और लिखने की देर है. मुझ जैसे प्रायः अंग्रेजी में लिखने वाली को भी यह यह लग सकता है, कुछ बात होगी हिंदी में. तभी शायद हिंदी किताबों में बूँद भर ही सही पर रस ज़्यादा ही होता है, स्कूल-कॉलेज के दिनों में हिंदी डिबेट हमेशा से ही मुझे अंग्रेजी डिबेट से ज़्यादा प्रभावशाली लगती थी. हिंदी-उर्दू की "मिलीभगत" में लिखी गईं कविताएँ भी थोड़ी ज़्यादा पसंद आती हैं मुझे. मानो की जो सच है, सही में सच है, किसी भी उपरीय-दिखावे रहित वह ही लिखा होगा इन कविताओं में. पर यह प्रेम काफ़ी व्यक्तिगत है. मैं किसी भाषा, देश, कौम से व्यक्तिगत लगाव से ज़्यादा कम ही महसूस कर पाती हूँ. लगाव इसलिए भी की मेरी माँ की हिंदी पर खूब पकड़ है. जितना अच्छा बोलती हैं हिंदी, उतनी ही कविताएँ मूंह-ज़बानी याद हैं उन्हें. बचपन से ही उन्हें हिंदी की श्रेष्ठ कविताओं को पता नहीं कैसे आसान-सी धुनों में पिरो के गाते-गुनगुनाते सुना है. कई बार मुझे रोते से चुप भी कराया है उन्होंने राणाप्रताप या झाँसी की रानी पर लिखी कविताएँ सुना कर, और कई बार सुना है उन्हें किचन में खाना बनाते हुए, वही कविताएँ गाते हुए. यही वजह है कि कुछ छन्द मुझे भी याद हैं. सही मायनों में हिंदी मेरी 'मदर-टंग' है. शायद इसलिए अनकहा स्वाभाविक लगाव है हिंदी से. लिखने को बोलो तो प्रायः अंग्रेजी ही लिखी जाती है; किसी से मिलूं तो अंग्रेजी में बात करना ज़्यादा आसान लगता है - शायद इसलिए कि हिंदी में कुछ ज्यादा ही अपनापन है, नए लोगों से इतने अपनेपन के साथ बात नहीं होती आजकल.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Eh.

Mind: Start writing, girl. Kick-start. S.t.a.r.t. Write as you read.
All that underlining is not getting you anywhere, neither is the
scribbling in the margins nor the endless pointers in that horrible
handwriting of yours.

Self: Eh?

flip-flop(?)

I don't exactly want to sound that I know more. I couldn't, for reasons more than one. But mostly, because I have realized for all my wisdom, we are all creatures of our past, we are all creatures of our fears and our mistakes and our doubts. Amidst all this foliage (or rubble if you like) we grow, we cull, degenerate and grow again. All through this time I had been sailing a fictional flag, floating on a fictional boat, living my life considering my self an enlightened being. Little did I know that the same books and theories that had me congratulating myself upon as having read, having elevated myself - were also in part taking me away from simple truth, from simple happiness and everything that on a rainy romantic morning I wanted. To put it plainly, it was actually taking me away from simplicity. It was taking me away from what I actually wanted in a world of what I desired. Want is simple you see, and desires have an imaginary wings to them - which on one hand give flight to our creativity - but are useless when it comes to looking deep within ourselves. They also waste a lot of time.

To continue, in the past one month I have almost come of age again. Such coming of age is not new to me. Happens every couple of years and I have always had an acute sense when the transition was taking place. As if it was puberty all over again. And I am sure even this, what I may call my metamorphosis here (to borrow a word from someone I briefly and sporadically loved) will go through another transformation. I don't say it as a disclaimer, I am not trying to protect my credibility. I say it as a fact that I must put for you to be able to understand what I am trying to tell you. The circle has no end, as is an answer to many a riddle.

I had begun to think till sometime back that I knew who I was, I knew what I wanted, I knew what suited me and what not. The operative verb of course being 'knowing'. Riding my high horse galloping the vagabond streets of desire and the mistake of thinking I 'knew' what I sought, had actually blinded me to what I simply wanted and needed. I had actually closed doors to what I was capable of. A self-styled enlightened being closing doors to knowing oneself! Isn't that disturbing? Yet I continued to do that. Continued to tie my limbs while chanting 'I am free', continued to gag my mouth while believing me to be breathing free, continuing to hold my heart down while believing me to be loving freely. It was then it happened. The dramatic realization.

I still don't know if I have reached stability. It is too early to deduce that part. But the fact that I metamorphosed, challenging my conception of myself, which of course I took constructively. Once the blinkers came off, I saw better as expected, but I also am beginning to accept better. I want to tell you, that as times will pass your conception of yourself might change, you might feel you are capable of much more sacrifice (for your self) than you ever thought possible. You may let go of 'this', the cause of your trouble - but I would want you to having done it knowing that you might metamorphose too and when that happens - promise that you will love yourself double as hard as you do. But, if you decide to not let go of 'this' - then know that you are capable of much, much more than you can imagine. You are capable of accepting much more than you thought you could and there might be some simple truth for you in there.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

happy!

The day was long, I made the most of it. Wrote vigorously. I'm loving it. My work is making me look forward to life and times to come. My beliefs replenished, reaffirmed.. it is beautiful this feeling. Much like love! Everything is making sense - as if I can use each faculty within my mind, each cell in my body, each nerve is alive with charge. Just wanted to write this moment.

teri aankho ke siva duniya mein rakha kya hai!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

my pages.

Just a random thought.. after having read Faiz's letters to his Wife.. it would be so lovely to be writing to someone.. in flesh and blood.. in ink and paper.. lovely to be writing to someone because there are things you want to write ..not things you just wanna tell and be done with. I used to do it in school - write letters to my friend, during the summer holidays. :)

On a completely different note - something had been happening these past couple of weeks. I don't know where I am - but it seems that I am losing control over how I feel.. the control is getting "outsourced" should I say. I am seeing things differently yet so scared that the happiness of it all has not got a chance to sink in. Somehow I fear even this will fall apart.

I am holding on to you, my pages.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Wayward

First thing first. Where I am. What I am doing today. The waywardness that has surrounded my life the past couple of days had me lose myself. Even as I traveled around Bombay  attending meets and training sessions and the like, I guess some reassessment of my self and my work is called for. Very often I find myself distanced from the areas I wanted to work in i.e. rural India. The fact that I am placed here in Bombay seems to me such a waste of time. "Things are fine here. Send me to the war-front!", say my innards. Ok but this is not the time for such commentary. There is work to be done and now. And no matter where I am situated - my work/academic research can still be done. And I can always travel 'there'. (hidden mockery in my own words.)

I love my job. I really really do. I love seeing things through the rights perspective. It is not an effort, spending hours and hours over reading and making sense of dozens of articles a day, taking notes and chalking out the contours of my own thesis. In short, I like studying and my fellowship here is giving me a lot of time to do that. But what has been bothering me? The fact that though what I am trying to say is very new in this organization,, within this set up, on the whole it is not very novel - much has already been written about it - do I really wanna give birth to a near-clone? From health perspective while I will have to explain things from the very scratch, over there i.e among people who have a human rights background I think I would only be articulating what has already been discussed, debated, agreed upon. Would it be better to instead take the discourse further or at least add something to it? I don't want to be bringing in an idea that (i fear) might be already stale. Is there something called a stale research? But then, doesn't research itself mean re-search? Phew, I don't know. The basic study is necessary for me anyway. So I should be concentrating on it.

I don't have answers but I hope I will in sometime. I also want to get my LSE assessed essays published - but somehow in the heart of my heart I tend to underestimate my work.  Within my mind it goes something like this - If I have been able to do it, then anyone can and so it is not good enough and if I face difficulties doing something - it must be wrong somewhere and so definitely not good enough. Do I leave myself with any choice here?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The ecdysis

I am becoming your Frankenstein's monster. You wanted me like this and there, you have it. You brought about this change, cast me into a mould that was not mine from the beginning. And I, as if lying in wait for the very change – became who I was not; and never even 'wanted' to be. The shapeshifting over, I emerged anew the way you would have me be. And now you feel wronged. You resent me because you fell in love with your own creation. Why, you should have known of all people that even as I sloughed my skin, to come out puckering and ugly, like a child fresh out of its mother's womb, I had ceased to be human in the process. 

My Ecdysis has happened – spineless that I am! –  at times even spiraling out of your grasp, my creator.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

settled!

Heya! Apologies for a belated post. My house is now set and I have entered into a routine. I am reading on a lot apart from that required for my research and now that I do not have a necessary priority in terms of course work to do - my interest in politics, journalism, issues and the like is rekindling. Stuff that I had lost touch with like Indian law and politics - I am again coming back to it all, albeit quietly. Unlike before, there is no one now to discuss such stuff with, or to casually speculate or predict. Now I remember it used to be fun doing that in college days. I still don't have a subscription to a newspaper here. Must remember to get it done at the earliest. Right now I am making do with an unreliable internet connection. I have to get that fixed too. 

As far as work goes at times I find it hard to keep focus. I keep losing track on exactly what I am doing - given the fact that I am very much an outsider here. Often I am surprised by my own presence. And then I go looking for myself. Remind myself of my interest and take it from there - so every other day becomes the first. The year in London was important in terms of ideas and concepts - now is the time learn the practical aspects of it all. But again, it would be great to have someone to talk these things through with. Someone senior.

As usual, when left to myself my mental compass naturally points to literature (and not human rights, much to my chagrin). I had been reading Anna Karenina - it is strangely paced - at times very slow, at others just right. I am halfway through the book but I still cannot make up my mind about a certain characters - why doesn't Tolstoy tell us more about them - often while reading I find myself wondering about the truth of these characters - Vronsky, Anna, her Husband Alexei, Levin and Kitty  - half way through the book and it still feels like the curtain is still only half drawn. A couple of thoughts though. I have always been enchanted with strong-willed women - and that's why I like Anna. And yet, to not been taken further into the countenance of her mind and what she is actually going on there, instead to be simply told what she is doing leads me both - to take this book up and to put this book down. (In contrast - how beautifully Charlotte Bronte elucidated Jane Eyre's mind. I am still hopeful though.)

Another book I am reading in between is A Short History of Nearly Everything and I don't know what to make of it because whatever I learn I forget in no time. I do enjoy it. And it is a very very easy read - given that it is all about Science.

PS: I am joining Spanish classes. Declaring it here to make me really go and enroll myself.