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 introduced an error in a newspaper report that went into print yesterday – which is a sin in print media. An editor is supposed to pick out the error not insert any. We had to issue a corrigendum. I am ashamed. I always take care while editing, even minute things that do not matter anymore. But I do, because like I have said multiple times I love my work. I always try to put in extra effort so that whatever I do is good for the paper and my self and yet it happened. It had to happen, when I was adding the line something went off in my brain but I ignored it, it had to happen because people usually re-read copies but somehow that point was missed. I am ashamed that it is my fault taht something like that has happened. I know, for everyone it’s like a normal day in the life of an editor and yes I agree. It’s not the end of the world. Tomorrow is a new day and people will forget about it might have already. But I cannot, it seems much more bigger to me. It is an indication that no matter how hard I try, I falter. Unknowingly. I get distracted or I miss something or I just don’t know. Why did it happen to me and not the other people at work who do not work as hard as me? Do I think too highly of myself. I have found, proof-read, polished errors in copies edited by other people before – did I think no one will be able to find in mine? I wanted that to be the case. I have let down the people who thought I could do some work. Why I have come here instead of scribbling in my notebook is beside me. The tap tap of the keypad is a better distraction than the scratch scratch of the pen in the middle of the night. I did not want answers I wanted to vent and find the strength maybe to go to work again tomorrow. I know it’s not a big deal but I don’t want to be scared of making mistakes. If I am then this will be the last mistake I will ever make and most probably the last time I learn anything. But I don’t want to be the blooper girl. I don’t want my life to be riddled with mistakes. I don’t want my career in journalism to become like my life – vague and plain. I want it to go where I want it to be. More than often I feel that right now I am just flailing my arms in the ocean. I want to stop swimming and I know if I do I will drown but I don’t wanna drown. And I feel like I am just about to drown every week.
And I don’t wanna drown. But most importantly I don’t want to be ‘the blooper girl’.
I am tired but not sleepy. I was sleepy few hours ago in office when I wasn’t tired. Work has been busy for the past two three weeks. Busy is good. But, too much good is bad. Hence, every night – tired but not sleepy. Which transalates to awake but not active in the morning. Funny how coffee/tea helps some people, doesn’t help me, momentarily yes.
My body is a big believer of Newton’s Law of Motion (I know stale joke). If at rest, will be at rest. Workouts these days are so exhausting – every single cell in my body asks me to hide under the blanket and go back to sleep. My 50-year-old mother is more active than me. One day she said she would massage my back because I was stooping like an old lady, felt so ashamed. Her legs pain at times, when she runs around a lot doing all of our work, but her daughter is already 129 years old.
I have had too much work since last few weeks, she has had too much work since my elder sister was born. How do mother’s have so much of strength. I was thinking about a time when I would be an adult, and live alone in a house. It will be in such a mess, even though I am a very clean person, not neat maybe, but clean. I don’t have that much energy as her.
This time also I must just force myself to sleep, but forcing never helps. The train of thoughts starts running at 1000 km/hr and no one can pull it’s brakes.
I just told a friend today about how I would have liked to attend the Arundhati Roy event in Delhi, but I was not in the city. And there are many more things that keep on happening that I would like to attend. So I decided that the best way to make it possible would be to buy a helicopter. This year I bought a cycle and a car now I want to buy a copter. With this, my list of things that I would want to buy (if possible/make possible) stands at.
- That abandoned bungalow at Kasturba Gandhi Marg.
- That abandoned bungalow at Number 10 market
Only 4 things.
I realised another thing today. Whenever somebody talks about stakeholders (which happens a lot in journalism) my mind immediately flits to a steak. And I get beautiful images of hot, steaming food. Weird.
This is the thousandth time I have used the word. Weird.
Should be improving my vocabulary, but it’s stuck on those few words/phrases that you can’t stop using like – confused, anxious, annoyed, idiotic, stupid, shit, like, you know, as in, I mean, weird. I don’t know. Tired. Not sleepy. Sleepy. Not tired.
There is a lie you partake in.
It’s beautiful, so much that you do anything to not let it break. It’s so carefully constructed that you can’t see the truth that has been buried behind it.
If at all, the truth tries to find it’s way out, you quickly find that beautiful lie and hide behind it.
I was a part of a lie too — so beautiful that nothing else has ever come close.
It was my seed, but two other people watered it daily, one more than the other.
It grew up big and strong, so big that it consumed me.
The truth came forward many times, trying to talk to me, but I didn’t want to hear it because of the two people who kept my beautiful lie safe for me.
I always knew the seed was faulty, something I had scrounged for in the storm.
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