The room is dark, there is a wooden chair in the middle of it. The walls are grey but there is little light. I am sitting on the chair. It is not uncomfortable, but it’s not comfortable. I try to shake the feeling away everytime I tap my foot against the chair. I don’t know why I am sitting there. But, I don’t even know where else should I be. I can’t remember what was I supposed to do? I look around to make sense of something. Why is my hair untied. I hate when it comes over my eyes. There is nothing to tie it from. I don’t understand why am I not getting up from the chair. I can’t see any doors or windows so I know I can’t get out, but I can atleast walk around the room. Nothing is holding me against my will. Yet, I sit, confused. I am not sure whether I want to keep sitting or move around. Both options seem like a lot of effort. So I don’t do anything. But, now it’s getting stupid. How long do I have to be in this room? What is this? It’s getting annoying. Plus, why am I dressed like this. I never wear jeans if I can help it. I never wear t-shirts outside – it’s too casual. I know this isn’t home, because it’s not peaceful as home. So why am I not doing anything? Should I shout? What’s the purpose? I know no one will hear. The walls seem so thick, and I don’t feel the kind of afraid you feel when someone is around. I feel the unease you feel when there might not be anyone. How long do I have to sit here again? As long as I want? Can I leave ? I can right? There must be a way. The two walls on my left and right seem like they can close on me. Nothing is happening, there is no movement. There is no draft in the room, but the temperature seems okay. That is something that is not uncomfortable. But, I am very aware of the two walls on my either side. My brain shows me how it will look when they try to close in on me. But, even in my imagination I sit and do nothing. I look both ways, yes, but only to see how far it is from my chair. The chair is small. Kind of like we had in school. But the colour of the wood and pattern is just how I like it. It’s a nice chair, but seems like it will not move. It’s comfortable but uncomfortable also. My head feels like I have just taken an exam. It hurts but I have been sitting here for so long. Doing nothing. I don’t know why I am here, but then again I don’t know where I should be rrather. Can I leave?
Somedays I am so sad, I don’t know who to talk to. I try and think of names. But, I can’t talk to anyone. At that point I just want to bombard all the unhappy thoughts at them but, it has to begin with a hi or a hello. Usually when I reach the brimming point. I have no energy left to say anything. I also do not have the strength to be snubbed my someone when I am so vulnerable so I don’t say anything. I cry. I lie down on my terrace or I sit outside among the greens. If I can’t do that. I lie on my bed and wait for the crying. Sometimes it takes time because it feels stupid. Just imagine sitting in a room staring at the wall waiting for tears to pour down and expecting some sort of relief or a poignant experience when it just feels like a big drama. Sometimes the crying comes easily, sobs followed by bawling. Sometimes I catch (read: force) a glimpse of myself in the mirror. And that image too feels so pathetically funny. I want to laugh looking at myself sitting alone in a room and crying but I know if I do so. I’ll lose the momentum. Sometimes I forget why I thought of crying in the first place and just sit there watching videos on my phone, oddly irritated and at peace at the same time. Irritated because I have this elaborate plan of emotional release and at peace because the internet videos offer me some recluse from reality.
When I cry, I make sure I am alone and I don’t make noises. I am quick to wipe my tears and blow my nose and wash my face, so that no one finds out. I find this perfect spot that is well hidden but within the range that I can return quickly if someone asks me to – to avoid suspicion. I have a back story ready, in case someone catches me, usually very thorough ( I am good at making up stories). But, secretly I wish someone should be able to find my secret spot or hear it over the crack in my voice over the phone and come and talk to me. They would be suprised and sad looking at me crying all alone. I want them to ask me what’s wrong, I’ll say nothing is wrong ofcourse for the first 2-3 times but then I will say, without any inhibition of being judged. I’ll try and clear the ocean inside me with their help maybe, but, it never happens. I am so good at hiding. It is one of the many things I learnt from Indian cinema that if you are a heroine someone will see you crying and your pain and what not. So, I wait until someone finds me crying and helps me maybe. Because somedays I am so sad, I don’t know who to talk to. So I sit in a corner stare at something and wait for the unhappiness to engulf me.
I am sitting in front of the computer thinking of words to write. I know what I want to talk about. Sexism. But, I don’t know how to talk about things that are important to me and everyone. I fumble, I misspeak or I give foolish arguments to make a point, even when I know what I want to say. There are times when due to shyness or fear, I just don’t say anything at all. But, I thought with writing, I can really think hard and frame exactly properly how I felt all those times, and especially in the last few weeks being a woman. And no this is not a ‘boo-hoo letter’. This is no ‘victimisation’ – this is just knowing that you can never really be sure from where prejudice will be thrown at you. It hurts more when it comes from someone who you thought was above all this.
I have been working for two years now and I have seen enough sexism in the workplace – already. I already think, that this is too much for me to see in 2 years. I am not scared or weak. I am just disgusted that these things happen still. More suprising is that this is so deep set in journalism – a place that is expected to show a mirror to the society.
And people say we should move past this? That women make an issue over unnecessary things? I am now beginning to sound fake maybe because I can never make very strong and intelligent arguments. So, I’ll just ask one question, why is the best compliment for a woman is that she is not like a woman? What is so wrong about being a woman that doesn’t make her good enough. Today someone in a ‘compliment’ said – she is not a woman, she is a don. Why? Since when is it better to be a don – something that in common parlance is associated with crime than to be a woman. And the sentence continued. ‘She is not a woman, she is a don. She is smart and….’
Why are they not womanly qualities. I know some super smart woman, so good at everything they do. But everyone would much rather want them to be Dons?
This is one of the many incidents that I have experienced in only the last 3 days. I know I’ll forget about this tomorrow. Day after there will be another thing to be angry about. But, someday someone will tell a child that so and so person is great because she is not like a woman and they will believe it. And they will think of it as the truth. And the age old cycle will continue
I wish there is a brake somewhere. I wish I ‘really am giving it too much importance’. I hope that things change. I hope that things change sooner, until then I’ll sit in front of my computer and think of words to write.
Why do some things suddenly flash in your mind. I am thinking of a better way to explain this. But, there are these pieces of memories that you know by heart. It’s a few seconds flash, a small clip of that time. You know it so well. The colours, the smells, the time, the people. I am not talking about memories as such. Just those kinds which you know so well that for those 5 seconds you can’t understand how so much time as passed between then and now. Because you remember it so well. It could be the middle of the night, but your nose can suddenly smell the green in the summer air. It’s dead silent, but you can hear the bell that rings before the exam and the scraping of pens and scales against the desk. Your eyes are closed, but you can see the pair of eyes look up from the book to you. And then that moment ends, and you again hear the constant whirring of your ceiling fan. You’re back in present, but you wonder how you reached here so quickly from that time. Where did everything in between go. For a period of time, there only exists now and then. You’re not sure that anything else happened in the middle.
And you try to retrace the memory in your mind over and over again. Maybe hoping to actually visit the time again, but its not as perfect as that 5 second flash – that happened suddenly – now and then.
I am sad every day almost, I guess — okay mostly, not every day. But this is the ‘why I am sad today’ list. Some are things that I always worry about some are just blekh.
- I could not do yoga today, I know it is not a big deal but it might hamper my weight loss goal that I have set for myself.
- I am questioning my creative capabilities. I cannot remember one original idea I had or one meaningful from start to end thing that I wrote that I can be proud of.
- I am feeling very average — which is not a problem — but I am getting anxious about what will happen in the future.
- I realised I am 23, I do not know why I forgot and thought I am 22. I am actually 23 and a month now, so okay the confusion because of that. I am not sad because I am ageing but because I think time is running too fast and I am not doing enough.
- I realised that a lot of ideas and opinions of mine are very utopian, and I might have to deal with that.
- I also realised that in ‘real life’ people favour snooty people and not hard-working people always and how the world is unfair that way.
- I am sad because I realise that I am sounding so righteous in the above two points when I am just one of the dumb people operating in this world.
- I am sad because I do not know what is going to happen and whether I will be able to handle the things that WILL happen.
- I am sad because I am in a fix whether I should shift to some other city for better career prospects, or stay at home and wait another year and finish the things I decided — which I did not do last year.
- I am sad because I do not know who to ask for help, and I do not know what purpose does writing here solve.
- I am sad because I have started feeling that everything is meaningless.
I don’t think we have made any technical advancement until we can retrieve a memory and play it on a screen — like a Penseive in Harry Potter.
How do you preserve a memory? Does going through it over and over again in your head, keep it as fresh as it was the first time it happened. Doesn’t time roughs it up a little? How do you make sure you remember every single thing about every single thing? I have never met anyone with a photographic memory? What happens to those people, do they remember everything in its entirety and exactness?
My mama has been battling cancer everyday for the last few years of his life. It’s gotten so bad now that all his memories are muddled. I don’t know why typing all this sounds rude to me, like I am making a mistake… But it’s the truth, everything is jumbled up in his brain. But, we and I still remember everything quite nicely — like not episodes but flashes. We used to go to his house in summer vacations, so there exist 3-5 second clips of our stay during that time. The yellow walls, the big room, the airy terrace, the scooter rides, the visit to chaat corner. Not the entire event, but in bits and pieces. I remember mama too, I know I sound so dramatic, that I remember him and all, I remember him in conscious memory and it is not a big deal, but you know from when I was a child.
Specially the scooter rides, I don’t know what he did when he stressed on a point, was it a slight tilt of the head, or a click of the tongue, it’s difficult to describe, one of my cousins still does it. I hate this talking in past tense. I don’t understand it, but it is the truth. I remember more things, too personal to write. The tall frame, the kindness, the love and care — all this and much more surrounded by the yellow walls. This thing is vague, I know there is no point, I just want to write because it might help me ease the confusion.
Back to where I was.
As we grew up, we got busy in our lives and we no longer met everyone in our family every year, but you know that everyone is going to be there at the same place and you can have all those scooter rides, and softy and water park and elephant park and boating in Ganga anyday, you just have to pack your bags and catch the train. There is still time, we have to study for the exam now. But then the exams didn’t end and the institutions changed and now maybe we will never be going back to the same place ever again. The yellow walls will be there always, but the love and care is threatened. And I have been trying so hard to preserve that. To keep it safe. Lock it somewhere. So that I can recreate it again if we ever have a technology. But we don’t, so what should I do now? What if when there does exist such a thing, we have to choose only a few. Which one do I save then? How do I go back to the original file, feel everything so that I can retrace it. What should I keep, the time when I was 5 and jumped idiotically from my mama’s piggyback and landed chin first on the floor — I still have a scar from that, or the one when I did not ‘make time’ to meet him when he was in Delhi for work, or just the yellow walls and blue scooter rides?
I am sitting in front of my computer thinking of words to write…
I am hungry again. I just had two sandwiches, like an hour ago. When I get tensed, I eat a lot.
When I was in Class 10 and I was worried before my first board examination (simpler times) I could not eat anything.
This stuffing my face development is new.
Food has started giving me comfort that I cannot find in words — written or spoken. The crisp wafer or the oily French fry tells me everything that I want to hear in the moment without making any noise.
My mother on the other hand when she is worried about something (which is rare because she is so strong) does not eat anything or cannot eat anything.
If I had to have an eating disorder, why could it not be the one that helps me lose weight?
Needless to say I am worried. I am worried a lot these days. I hate my mind, always over analysing things to the point that makes me just want to pull my hair and scream and ask it to shut up. It is supposed to be my support system, but it is my worst enemy.
Right now too, my heart is beating very fast. Words do not come to me easily at such a time, and I start questioning the purpose of this whole exercise. If trains in India travelled as fast as my heart we would not need Japan’s bullet trains. However, the only thing that can match up to my heart is my mind, which surprisingly is never tired. Always running mad.
After making that allegation I was reminded of a lot of situations when my mind was completely blank. I know people say that it is a big thing, but it happens to me. For a long time I do not think about anything, it is quiet and peaceful and calm. Such moments are prized.
Recently, the longest I went without thinking anything was 2 hours or something. It was in Andamans. The staying blank was due to no credit of mine, just the beauty and placidness of that place. Someday I wish I am equipped enough to write a travelogue so that I can keep that experience safely for myself. I do not want to attempt it even, because I do not think I can do justice to what I saw. The massive ocean, and the knowledge that you are so very small in the entire mechanism of things. When we were in school, there was a line in a chapter in hindi — ‘Woh drishya toh dekhte hi banta tha’ — meaning that only when you see it do you get it and I thought that this is just a literary device, trying to induce mystery in beauty, but when I went to Andaman I realised that the writer had not put the sentence there because of literature but simply because she accepted the exquisiteness of nature.
One of the days in Andaman, we were in a car, on our way from point A to point B — with trees on either side, long unwinding undulating roads. Everywhere you look there is green. Nothing is brown. Even the barks are covered with moss. Rainforest. My first time in a rainforest. Green, green everywhere. Wherever there is a possibility of of growth, there is something.
A sapling, a twig, a creeper, a big tree, a small tree leaning on a big tree, a small plant growing on the small tree. Green. The only colour you see.
Quiet yes. But there is so much activity going on at that moment. If you are very very quiet I think you can hear a root digging deeper into the soil, or a creeper strengthening its hold on a branch, or just a shrub finding more space to grow.
It was so heartening to see that something or the other was growing out from even the cracks that had developed between the cemented portions of the road.
Which made me think, how much determined we must be to destroy the forests and the environment, because it is so powerful and stubborn itself to grow on everything that is capable of life. It grows, unabated taking everything in its fold, it does not care whether there is a sewer next to it or waterfall — unbiased, it spreads, until we step in.
Maybe someday we will understand that we cannot take nature for granted, when it will be too late, it is already too late. Maybe someday I will stop eating when I am tensed, or stop getting tensed all together. Maybe someday we will have trains that run as fast as my heart. Maybe someday I will understand my things are so unrelated in my mind, and why I cannot thread a thought together.
Until that day, I will wait and write stupid blog entries that make no sense…