Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Fat Girl In The Corner


Recently I've been coming across some interesting things around bodies and stereotypes. I have hardly spoken about such things because I have spent my life being the "fat" girl and always thought if I voiced my opinion people would think I'm being too sensitive. Yet I would find myself incensed by the fact that everyone in the universe thought it was okay for them to laugh at me, to crack a joke, to tell me for my "own good" how important it was for me to lose weight. Friends, colleagues, strangers, lovers.

When did I start thinking of myself as fat and ugly I wonder? I know I didn't think it as a kid. Was it in 8th grade when the guy I had a massive crush on rejected me saying I was too fat for him? Was it when my sister's well meaning friend told me while helping me dress up for my birthday that I was so pretty I could be a model if only I lost weight? Or when the ex said I wasn't good enough cos heads didn't turn when I entered a room? Was I fat because I ate too much or did I eat too much because people had told me I'm fat so many times that I had started to believe it at a deep gut level?

I know only that most of my social life was an agonizing debacle of trying to find outfits that hid my fat and made me look good. Of going from pillar to post putting every face pack and night cream I could on my face to get rid of the angry red blotches of acne. Smiling at every fat joke. Some times even cracking some before someone else could hoping that would be less humiliating. Telling every man in my life that I was ashamed of my body, trying to hide it. I remember feeling grateful if they chose to be accepting. Grateful if a man was interested in me. I spent a lifetime undermining everything I have to offer in a relationship and settling for any man who was willing to accept my ugliness.

Movies, television, advertisements, books, all of them only speak of the fat, the ugly, the acne ridden as bumbling idiots or tragic heroes. There are the geeks who turned into beauties or just fumbled upon a good looking partner. There is never a person with a different face/body type who is the main protagonist with no excuses. I saw a movie recently in which an actress tells the hero that she can torment him and take revenge now for what he did to her twelve years ago because "tab main moti aur bechaari thi, ab main sexy aur powerful hoon". Those are the messages sent out to us every second of every day. We don't even realize it. I've had friends talk about their ideal woman and size was always a consideration. When did we as a society get so obsessed with how a person looks? To the point that its become one of the highest causes of depression and eating disorders. Where we have multi-million dollar industries to help us change how we look in every conceivable way.

Every day I see an article helping me define my body shape, pear, apple etc etc. Or one telling me how to get a bikini body. Or what kind of pants I should wear to minimize the debilitating effects of my shortness and wide waistline. And then I saw a line that said How to get a bikini body - Take your body, put a bikini on it. A switch flicked in my head. I was done with the bullshit.

I went on a holiday and I tried my best to wear what I WANTED to wear. Not what I should or what looked better. It was terrifying and liberating. It is time that people get over who's fat, short, dark, ugly. Really. I'm sure you have something better to worry about.

Here's Saif Ali Khan telling us his fascinating take on "ugly" actors. Saif, I'm ready to see a film about real people, however fat or ugly they are!


So, your wife told you that looking beautiful in Bollywood is more important than acting.
That’s a joke. She can afford to say that because she is beautiful and a good actor. Actually, I do think that it is equally important if not more. Because everyone is so fit, It is a visual medium. And I don’t think anyone wants to see a film about an ugly guy who is giving a great performance. We are not so mature as an industry yet. We are still trying to make beautiful films about beautiful people, unless it’s a niche film.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The voters who couldn't vote

I wanted to vote today. I started out at 9:30 am, found my election booth and stood in line. For the next hour I was shunted from one person to the other who told me my name is not on the list. I'd gotten a new card made last year at my new residential address. Yet my name was not on the list. I was asked if I had gone online and checked if my name was on the list. I hadn't, and that I admit was my mistake. I had voted several times before and didn't think my name could have gone off the list. But it had.

"Jahan pehle rehte the wahan ke booth par naam hoga aapka, transfer nahin hua hoga". So off I went to the booth I had always voted at. Found my mum, dad and sister. But my name was nowhere to be found. I had filled up my form, submitted it, picked up my election card. My name had been removed from the previous address but not been put on the list for my current address. I was not on the voters list.

I came back to my current poll booth and asked what can be done. How can we address this issue so that I may be allowed to vote? It had been 3.5 hours of running around and I was really frustrated. I really wanted to vote. I was given numbers of the SDM, sector officer and a bunch of other people. I called them. None of them could help me. No one had the discretionary powers to issue a letter allowing me to vote. One person asked me to come to him after 15th December.

By now I was at my wits end. In the last few hours I had seen innumerable cases of peoples names not being on the voter's list. Someone people had valid election cards and were standing there but their records had mysteriously been deleted, without any intimation or action undertaken by them. One old man had been voting for the last 40 years but was told his name was not on the list this time. He had stayed in the same house and voted in the same place. There was no reason his name wasn't on the list.

The only explanation repeatedly given to me was that someone must have come to your house to confirm you address. I said they hadn't. I was told I must have been out of the house. Is that valid reason to strike my name off a voters list? Even Flipkart and courier delivery guys call and come or come back again. Shouldn't I have been given a call, or had someone return or even leave a note telling me how to take it forward? I should have gone online and checked, but what about the scores of people in our country who don't have access to the internet? Don't they deserve to be on a voters list?

I saw so many people being turned away today, rich, poor, old, young, all out to exercise their right to vote. All people with valid election cards in their hands. Shouldn't there be some authority that can consider these cases and allow them to vote?

How do names mysteriously go off the list or get deleted? I got my card a year ago, why doesn't that ensure my place on the list? There were reporters from a prominent daily newspaper at the polling station who came to ask me what happened. Apparently it's happening across the city they said. They'd seen the same situation at all the booths they had visited. If I saw over a hundred such cases happen in front of me over a few hours at two polling stations I can't imagine the total number across the city.

There are so many campaigns urging us to vote. Yet here were hundreds of voters being turned away due to errors in the functioning of the electoral offices. Is that then a fair election? Is it not possible to make this system easier?

I spent a total of 5 hours doing this. Not everyone would. I really wanted to vote.


Monday, 2 December 2013

Nighttime ruminations

I've been tossing and turning for the last three hours trying to sleep. The harder I try the more elusive it is. In the meantime I've indulged in a little pity party. Maybe it's the fact that I spent all of yesterday making love to my toilet ( if you can call a stomach infection that). Maybe it's the copious amounts of white bread and butter I've consumed as an aftermath of the toilet love affair, which my body is not at all used to anymore. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm severely pms-ing ( honestly I think women should be given a five day holiday from life every month! And for any one who doesn't 'get' it, please try a crazy-ass hormone injection and you'll know). Either ways I have in the last three hours dug up every single insecurity and convinced myself its true.

So yes I :
1. Suck in bed
2. Don't know how to write
3. Am a horrible, negligent mother
4. Will never find love
And of course
5. None of my friends actually "like" me. They just put up with me

I figured instead of wasting more time I should just write it all down and make a counter list of things that may keep me from going over the edge.

1. I hauled my ass out of a shitty marriage
2. Good, bad or ugly I am taking care of my son and he's a kick-ass kid so I must be doing something right
3. People are paying me to write so it can't be that bad
4. I travelled to NYC, Vietnam and Thailand. I did it on my own money. I didn't let my fears and evil thoughts hold me back. I had an awesome time doing it.
5. That's it. In this moment it's all I can think of.

Right now, just for tonight, life sucks. Tomorrow I will try to redefine it, to find a way around it. But tonight I will hope that this blog purges me enough to get some shut eye.




Monday, 25 November 2013

Infidelity is a bitch!

It's taken me a while to understand why my divorce was not easy or why it took me longer to 'get over' it than people expected it to. Well one, because they have no idea what I went through. And two because there is little that lacerates the mind, body and soul like the breaking of trust.

When two people come together with the express purpose of being committed exclusively to each other, infidelity strikes hard and deep. It makes the person cheated upon doubt everything about themselves. Their bodies, their personalities, their entire beings. The first thing that happens is you wonder what you did wrong. But you didn't. You did nothing wrong. You did not go out of your relationship willingly looking for another partner. No matter how fat you are, no matter if your sex life sucked, no matter if you're the smartest pea in the pod or the ugliest thing that walked. You did nothing wrong. You are responsible for your relationship, not your partner's choice to cheat on you.

Being cheated upon breaks you like little else can. It makes you doubt every moment of your relationship, not only with the person who did it but for other's that come in the future. It is not the death of my marriage that got me as much as my loss of faith and trust in men. To be hurt in that way takes a lot out of you. It doesn't help that people expect you to get over it or to be flippant about it. Or that they say it's not a big deal, or that it made it easier for you to leave the man. It is a big deal. And it doesn't make it any easier to walk out on your relationship. It makes you sit on the toilet floor and cry for hours. That's the truth and the sooner you accept it the better.

Yet I have met in the last year, men, who have helped my process of healing to begin. Men who have demonstrated extreme kindness and thoughtfulness. Men who have walked away from temptation. Men who have acknowledged the deep pain infidelity can inflict.

It's a long way off yet but I can see the beginnings of the scab on my wound. I'm still too scared to be in a relationship but I feel like I may be able to trust again. To give freely. To not look over my shoulder at every turn of a relationship. I have learned to raise my standard and have found men who meet the new standard. The scars years of infidelity left on me may never heal completely, yet I hope they won't overshadow my view on love and relationships either.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

On what "would have been" my 6th wedding anniversary

The 1st of November kind of creeped up on me this time. The day was going just as planned when suddenly, mid-afternoon, I remembered it was the 1st. The mood steadily went downhill from there. Every few hours I would glance at the clock and think of what I was doing at that time of day six years ago.

While I indulged in my pity fest, going through in excruciating detail my actions and thoughts from that day, my mind started drifting to my other anniversaries. Year 2008, 1st of November my ex-MIL came to our place. And stayed. Not a fun beginning to our married life. The second anniversary was a good one. We went to La Ronde in Montreal and pretended to overlook the deep irreparable fissures that had already permeated our marriage. Roll over to the third, with baby in tow, we fought and stayed home. The fourth was marked by a perfunctory dinner. The tasteless food was an apt reflection of the state of our relationship by then. Most people including my family forgot to wish us. It was our last anniversary.

Last year would have been our fifth anniversary. We'd filed for divorce and were in two separate states. It brought an onslaught of misery and guilt for me. I chose to get drunk and not tell anyone.

This year, it dawned on me that the pain and grief had reduced. On my "would have been" 6th wedding anniversary, I was a single mother to a 3 year old munchkin who means the world to me, I was working, I was spending the day at the parlour purely for myself and not for a man who would barely notice me and I was preparing for my first international holiday on my own steam. Life really wasn't that bad at all. It sure beat getting dressed for a meal with a man who wouldn't bother to bathe or shave. It was a far sight better than the heavy silences and bitter arguments that marked most of our marriage. Or the obligatory sex that neither of us enjoyed anymore.

It made me realize that I may not be married anymore. I may not have an anniversary to celebrate. But I have so much more. I celebrate my son, who is my universe. I celebrate myself and who I have become. I celebrate my life, for it is mine, to love, to make my own decisions, to follow them through and to head off with my friends for the adventure of a lifetime.

Hopefully over the years the pain will vanish altogether. Sometime in the future, the 1st of November may hold no significance at all for me anymore. But till then, whenever the day rolls by, I will remind myself of all the things I gained from letting my marriage go. I will mark this day, from now it is my anniversary with myself. With my freedom. With happiness.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

C'mon people, show some appreciation!

If we had woken up to the news that 5000 people died due to cyclone Phailin the blame game would have begun. Fb, Twitter, blogs and newspapers would be flooded by criticism. Of the government machinery, politicians, armed forces, everyone. But we didn't wake up to that news. For once it seems the government outdid itself. They rose up to the occasion and took steps to ensure minimum loss of life. I feel like standing up and giving them a huge round of applause. Yet there is a deafening silence. Where are all those people who are so quick to put snide, bitchy updates on FB when things go wrong? All the charities and NGO's that stand for a cause? Why aren't they flooding online spaces with appreciation, gratitude, happiness for a job well done?

While I sit, I realize this lack of gratitude and appreciation permeates down to every level of interaction. Between friends, in families, at work. We are so speedy with our snarky comments. It takes but a moment for us to start gossiping and judging people for their failures and faults. But rarely does a person hear a word of appreciation for a thoughtful deed. There is no gratitude for the unselfish acts people do for us everyday.

No one tells a parent, a sister, a friend that they handled a situation well in their lives. That they're doing a good job of raising their child or keeping their home or building their career. But god forbid if that child misbehaves or you find a cockroach in that house or that person gets fired. Will they get an earful then!

Sometimes that's really all we need. An acknowledgment of our life, our struggle, our effort. Some one to tell us we are doing a good job. Whether it's a person, an organisation or a government. We all need to hear praise to have the will to carry on. To do our best every day. To be better than we are today.

So c'mon people. Let's show some appreciation. For the government that helped save so many lives, for our parents and siblings, for our colleagues and co-workers, for everyone who touches our lives in so many unique ways. You know right? What goes around, comes around.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

What I missed out on

Growing up in a joint family was an interesting experience. Where as we had tons of fun with so many people around there was also plenty of screaming and shouting. As the years passed by the fun went down and the volume went up. My sisters and I reacted very differently to this situation.

Both my sisters were rebellious teenagers, bad-mouthing religion, fighting with the parents, dissing marriage and insisting that they will live-in if the need be. I was the quiet, mousy one. The disintegration of all family ties in the extended family made my sisters very anti-family. In me however it fueled the fire of wanting to build strong familial ties. All my life I can remember actively seeking that. Yet these are not things that we can control.

When I got married I thought I'd hit jackpot. I would finally have what I always wanted. A loving mother in law. A father in law I'd be able to talk to. But most of all a brother in law. My mom had two brother in laws. They at one point shared a great relationship. All the K3G's of the world had messed with my head. I wanted the Bhabi-Devar friendship I had seen so much of. Boy, was I in for a disappointment. It seemed almost cruel that my sisters who'd never wanted any of this got nicer in-laws by far. So did most of my friends. I know they all have their issues, but at least they can pick up the phone and have a civil conversation or hang out once in a while.

Even now when I see cousins hanging out, doing trips together, a stab of jealousy rips through me. I don't have the cousins. I don't have the in-laws. I don't have the husband.

In an interesting twist of events the ex started visiting my son again and for the first time in years things weren't angry and tense. That brought home, like nothing else had, what I was missing. Being a single parent you get used to doing everything on your own. You forget that if you had a partner it would have been different. Things may have been easier. And yet, I missed out on that too.

So yes, in moments like these, I feel sad. About all the relationships that I wanted. All the relationships that I missed out on. When I see a couple with their child or cousins having a blast. When I see someone hug their mother in law. I wish I had that. But I don't. That is my reality and I will have to make peace with it.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Write my name in the sky OR The kind of man I want

I grew up on an endless supply of Mills and Boon and Nora Roberts. A world of perfect people with perfect bodies and near perfect lives. They met to create perfect passion which led to perfect love. I fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Then reality struck. I didn't have a perfect body. Did that immediately disqualify me as the heroine of my own life and love story? The emotionally challenged, commitment phobic men I fell for didn't blossom and bloom in the sunlight of my unconditional, limitless love. Buggers, why wasn't he taking the shape of the hero in the saga? Hadn't I been his shoulder to cry on, the only person in the world who understood him and unlocked the doors to his happiness?

Way back in 2006 my best friend got married. I was swept away by the romance and fairy tale that her courtship and marriage were. I had a battered and bruised heart myself. I'd been pining for a man who had walked out of my life and left me wondering how I'd messed up again. Little did I know the colossal mess-up was yet to come. I had just met the ex. There was an air of excitement and adventure about him. I was flattered that a good looking man like him was at all interested in me. So there I was drunk at my friend's cocktail party, flirting with this man on the phone. Bubbly with the euphoria around me and a fair bit of alcohol I said I would date him if he wrote my name in the sky. A grand romantic gesture. I was worth it right? Even now I remember the instant discomfort in his voice. Maybe that should have been the first warning bell for me.

But I chose to ignore it, as I had several before and several after. My choice of men has been pathetic to say the least. I have chosen men who have had little love, respect or commitment to me. I don't hold it against them because with time I have realized that they had less love, respect and commitment to themselves. I deliberately (though I didn't know it then) chose men who couldn't be there for themselves. I thought I'd be the one who fixed them, made them all better so that we could have our happy ever after. It didn't strike me that only we can fix ourselves, no one else.

So today, I choose to want another sort of man. I have had time to think, to reflect, to understand. I no longer want someone tall, dark and handsome. I don't want someone who drinks, smokes or drugs himself into oblivion. I don't need someone 'cool'.

I want someone who knows himself. I want a man who is willing to stand up for what he believes in. Who loves his family and his friends. Whose family and friends love him. A man who doesn't take himself or life too seriously. Someone who is committed to himself, to finding himself, to growing, to learning. I want a man who can enjoy the small things in life as much as the big. A man who can cry as hard as he can laugh.

Romance no longer means the same things to me as it once did. Yet I want a man who will give me romance and tenderness. A man who will care for me. Who will accept and cherish who I am.

The kind of man I want will write my name in the sky, without ever having to.

Monday, 16 September 2013

On loss, grief and staying with it

"I am grateful and sad—grateful to no longer be in pain, sad about the loss of a dream. After two years of living alone I am no longer devastated, in anguish, or crippled with grief and, for this, I am deeply grateful. Now, when I think about the marriage—its beginnings and its ending—I’m just sad.

Something in me—some desire to meet an imagined expectation—wants to end this story on a note that reassures us all of new dreams incubating and freedom found. But, something stronger and deeper urges me not to reach for what is next, to simply sit with the gratitude and the sadness as they arise."

I read this passage a few days back and it's stayed with me. Because it fits. It describes, exactly, how I have felt for a while. I have spent the last 2 years being 'fine'. For lack of a better response, my automated answer to people's questions on my well-being would be 'I'm fine'. Some days it would be I'm good. I was too scared to admit that I was far from that. That would have been weak. I couldn't afford to be weak.

Systematically I rebuilt my life, one that made me strong. I was delighted when friends said I'd bounced back so well, dealt with it so well. I hadn't. I just didn't give myself time to know that. I busied myself with building a career and raising my son. It was so much easier than looking within. So much easier than seeing the cuts and bruises inside. 

Today, for the first time in 2 years, I have no where to go, nothing to do, no one I need to take care of. I will not do what should be done. I will do what I want to do. I won't read the books I think I should, or see the movies I ought to see. I won't run from myself, from what I want.  

I'm sitting in an empty apartment listening to songs that held special meaning for me and the ex. Songs I haven't had the courage to listen to for a long time. Songs he sung to me when we were starting our life together, building our home together. Tears stream down my face. For the first time I am looking at my grief, my loss. For the first time I am choosing to sit with it, as it arises. 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Self-loathing and other such things

This post goes un-publicized because it is a rant. For me, by me. I swirl around in a whirlpool of self-loathing. This isn't unfamiliar territory for me. I have lived here time and again over the years. The last week this has been my home.

It's one of those days where I don't have the will to get up and do anything. I want to stay curled up in my bed and drown out the sounds of the world. I cannot commit to anything other than indulging myself. This indulgence never has the desired effect though. I have indulged my love of food and alcohol, only to be sickened by the fat oozing out of my pores and the hangover beating steadily in my head.

Everything seems like a monumental effort. Just to tell myself that I will get through this, that I won't be sucked into this whirlpool forever is an effort. I hate myself. My writing, my body, my very being. And by extension I hate everyone and every thing else. I cringe at the words I have put down in previous blog posts, I squeeze my eyes shut as I stand on the weighing machine. I walk around, feeling empty. Vacant. Alone.

I don't want to be healthy and reach out to my friends. Right now I believe I have none. They don't care about me. I am not important to them. They have way cooler people in their lives. They are light years ahead of me in creativity. The whole world knows them, loves what they write, sees their blogs, follows them on twitter and facebook. I am nobody. My blogs stay unread, my book unwritten. I have nothing new or of value to write, to say. I have nothing.

The most I can do, the mammoth task which I have summoned up the energy for, is to write this. To puncture my bubble of negativity just a tiny bit and hope that eventually it will drain itself out. Till then all I want to do is stay prisoner in my world of silence. Stay away from everything that threatens me.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

To all the a*&h*%$s!

Growing up in a middle class family I was always taught to be quiet. To do my duty. Neki kar dariya mein daal, I was told. Follow the Bhagvad Gita. Walk away from conflict, resolve an argument by being the silent, smart one. Maybe it was because I was a girl. Maybe it was because my parents wrapped themselves in a blanket of fear.

I was walking in and out of the room yesterday as my son sat and watched The Croods. There's a scene where the father says, "Fear keeps us alive." It just struck me that most of my life has been dominated by fear. Mine and my parents.

I have been afraid to experience and express anger. It would tarnish my image and reputation as the sensible, responsible girl. I pretend to forgive and forget, as my parents always said I should, and then am surprised by the seething anger under the surface. A friend of mine once said to me that she was surprised by the remarkable lack of anger I felt towards my ex. I felt so proud for being so evolved.

The truth: There's anger. Plenty of it. So here's to all the assholes I should have had the balls to be angry at!

To the jackass who told me I was too fat for him in the 7th grade. Honestly take a good look at yourself. And I saw you recently on FB, you still ain't no stunner!

The ex. I was way too good for you. Really. I know I had my share of  blame for what happened but you had no business doing what you did. I am happy to have you out of my life. Thank you for pushing me to a corner so I finally grew a pair and walked out to live the kind of life I deserve. You are the worst and the best thing to have happened to me. You make me angry, but the anger has been a blessing because it has released me, finally, from being the 'good one'. Just be very careful now of how you tread near me cos I ain't holding back anymore.

To the "sort of" boyfriend/sex buddy. I am so glad you were too cowardly to stand up to your mother and tell her to get the hell out of your relationships. Cos honestly you scratched the itch and there was little more. Staying with you would only have diverted me from building the kind of life I wanted. Plus I needed that last push to understand that I don't need jackasses in my life and can be happy just by myself!

To the above's mother. Oh you're a classic piece and if you weren't who you are I would love to tell you just what you and your beloved husband can shove up your backside. For one raise better sons. Two don't take advantage of someone just cos they're being quiet. And three, grow a fucking brain and some sensitivity. Women like you should really just go drown themselves for the way you push patriarchy ahead and treat other women like shit. Shame on you! Really! For being a sick, sick human being.

And to the above's brother. We were friends once. But you chose to listen to the lying shnit and declare yourself judge. Well, up yours, life ain't that simple and you have no business judging me.

All of you, in the last year, pushed me to a point where it seemed life would never get better again. And then it did. I took all the anger, the rage and used it to prove to you, and to myself that I am better than what you think of me. Better than what I allowed you to make me think of myself. It fueled me to lose weight, to work, to earn and to be the best goddamned mother my son could have hoped for. I wish I could say this to your face, or tag you in this post. But I won't. Maybe cos I'm still a little scared. Maybe because I know now that I can express my anger but I needn't dirty my hands with you anymore. Maybe because you're just not worth it for me.

Monday, 19 August 2013

When the black clouds lift...

I've been in a funk for the past week. Too much alcohol, too little sleep and way too much stress. About my life, the lack of a partner, my weight, my child...the entire gamut of things.

And then the clouds started to lift. The black veils over my eyes started to part. A friend of mine told me, god bless her soul, to listen to the ugly voices deep inside. To get down to the level where the real fear is. It's amazing how when you go there despite the foul odor of your thoughts, the years of entrenched self-loathing, the beliefs that are always holding you back, it is still a liberating experience. Each time I revisit this place I feel like I've peeled away another layer, I'm a little bit braver, A little bit closer to loving myself enough to acknowledge who I really am and not just the image I have constructed.

In certain ways I am a perfectionist. I'm very hard on myself. Either I'm the best or I'm an epic failure. I've achieved everything I wanted to or I'm totally worthless. This trip of mine down "the shit in my head" lane taught me something. I can let go, breathe easy. I can do what I can in the moment without going bat shit crazy about my future or what I had wanted from it. I can trust. In myself, in the universe, in my struggle. Not my own notions of what my life 'should have' been nor anyone else's of what it should be matter.

I wanted to be a filmmaker. So desperately. And I have friends there, connections, making it big. I've hidden behind my son as the reason for not making the move. But I need to re-examine it. I need to not resent him for it, because if I really want I can make it happen. I can leave him with my parents or take him with me. I can make it happen. If I choose not to it's my choice and I need to see my reasons for it.

I want to travel the world. Or so I thought. Honestly I don't think I'm cut out to be a constantly on-the-move kinda gal. It's exciting and glamorous. It would make for a great story. "Post divorce single mother rediscovers herself and hits the road." But that's not who I am. I value enduring friendships with people I can meet regularly, I like having a home. I like routine and familiarity. Sure I love to travel. But I can't live on the road. What I can do is make sure I travel a couple of times a year and as my son grows I'm excited about the idea of doing trips with him.

I want a man. Oh God Yes!!! It's been so long! All my friends are hooked up or married. I go out to a bar and everyone has someone to be with. I sit and wonder who to visit my favourite restaurant with, who to take to the movies. I am alone. A lot. I love my son but honestly, he's 3! I want adult company. I want a man, who'll hold me, who I can rely on, who'll kiss me senseless and then make love to me all night long. But the truth is I'm not ready. As desperately as I want this I am not ready to allow another man in to my life yet and nowhere near my heart. So maybe instead of moaning about not finding someone or only attracting creepy men I need to learn to love myself. Truly and deeply. To value and respect myself. To know what I want, from myself, my life and my man. Maybe then the universe will conspire to let the right person into my life.

I want to be the perfect parent. Supermom. So awesome that my son never misses not having a father. So cool that he never has to go to a shrink with 'mommy issues'. A mother who nurtures the perfect child. He should be smart, sensitive, respectful, multilingual, genius, child prodigy, sports legend! Sheesh! The amount of pressure I've put on myself as a mother! And when it starts to crack I panic. I love my son. Deeply. All I really want is for him to be happy. He will tell me at some point in his life that I suck and he hates me cos I screwed his life up. It's natural. It's the ways of the world. Hopefully he'll outgrow that soon enough and will have an awesome life and we'll have a relationship that's healthy and close. But I can't bend over backwards trying to be perfect. I can't take on the guilt of him not having a father. I can't and shouldn't over compensate.

So as the funk started to evaporate I realized that I must renew my vows to myself. I must recommit to my goals for the present. I have to write, everyday. I have to work towards being healthy. And I have to know that my struggle and fight are real, but not impossible. I will not sink because I am not alone. I have friends and family who will haul me up. Each time the fear threatens to drown me, each time that hideous voice gets all snarky I have to look it in the face, resolve it and move on. And each time I will be closer to loving myself in the way I deserve.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Exhaustion

I write this post with tears streaming down my face. Is it the alcohol? The exhaustion? The hopelessness? Or a mix of it all?

I am exhausted. At every level. I love my child, let there be no doubt about that. I love him more than I have ever loved another. But I am tired. Of being a single mother, of being a single woman. And of understanding that being a mother may not allow me to find a companion.

I went for an unexpected girl's night out after work today. It was great. Till people started hitting on me. No, truth be told, that was great too. Till it turned creepy.

But was that what really got me? Was it the conversation with my friends post the party? Was it the fact that the only non-creepy, nice guy I have been attracted to in a long time is off-limits?

Or was it just the fact that the life I sometimes envision is impossible? It is a mind-numbing, bone-weary job being a single parent sometimes. There is no space to be you, to plan the life you wanted. I wanted to travel, to see movies, to read. But I can't. My day begins with getting my son ready for school and ends with putting him to sleep. In the middle I work, I carry his bicycle downstairs, I play tennis, I try constantly to keep him creatively and productively engaged.

Still I forget to get his homework done, his toy still needs to be returned, I have to send stuff into school, I promised I'd take him swimming...the list of stuff undone is long. I am always falling behind. With him, with work, with myself.

So many balls up in the air and the nagging feeling that I am dropping them all. Sometimes I just want to run away. With a man. Cos honestly it's about time I had one!


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Being Alive

In a long, long time I haven't felt the way I do today. I don't know if I've ever felt this way. Every pore in my body is open, taking in huge gulps of fresh air. All my senses are heightened. Though each muscle and fiber in my body screams with pain at the slightest movement I can't remember the last time I felt so good. Felt so deeply, intensely alive!

Yesterday, for the first time, I was part of a Bollywood/Indie feature film shoot. Spot boy, AD, photographer, sound guy and production manager, I donned many hats in one day. I don't know if I'll be credited with either in the final cut but honestly, I don't care. As I said in my earlier blog Movies and Me I have been obsessed with the movies from childhood and my dream finally came true.

It doesn't matter that the shoot was in a house in Delhi. It doesn't matter that almost the entire crew is relatively new at what they do. I don't care that there weren't big stars (though honestly Anshuman Jha and Piaa Bajpai aren't exactly unknown either). None of it matters. My dream came true. That is the only thought going round and round in my head and I haven't stopped grinning. I was on my feet for 22 hours and yet I feel nothing but pure, unadulterated joy. Bliss.

It's been a good year. I got published for the first time , I worked for bigwigs like the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and I was a part of X - The Film. I couldn't ask for more. I am so thankful. To the powers that be. To my friends (you know who you are) for all the support and the coffees and the drinks and the cigarettes and the love you sent my way. You often believed in me more than I did myself. To my awesome son who has inspired me to get off my ass and live my life. To my boss, I don't think he knows what he has done. There is no way he'll realize the magnitude of my gratitude. He gifted me my dream. There is no greater gift you can give a person than to fulfill their dream.

But most of all, for a change, I want to thank myself. For trusting in the universe, in myself, in life. For allowing myself to grieve, to be fearful, to be insecure. For being able to face that and put it away so that I can let good into my life. Good people, good work. For giving myself a chance to restart, to not abandon my dreams just because they'd gathered dust and cobwebs. For forgiving myself, for loving myself, for knowing when to let go and when to hold on. For giving myself permission to belong and be loved. For believing that I am smart and capable even when I felt I was no good. I have earned this. I deserve this and more in my life forever. I believe that now. Thank you.

Monday, 5 August 2013

On fears: Morbid and Banal

I try to walk in the light and be fearless. And I am a lot better at it today then I was before. But I am still gripped by fear on many occasions. I have learnt though that the best way to combat fear is to voice it out loud. You take control then and fear loses it's hold over you (at least to some extent). So here I am voicing my fears.

A morbid imagination is something I've been blessed (or cursed) with. I remember many moons ago I freaked out my then boyfriend by saying, while we drove back from college late at night, that I wanted to smash his face through the windshield. Just to see it crack, to see his blood and tissue stain the glass, to see how his face contorted before the glass shattered. He had a look of horror on his face. We hadn't even been fighting! I'm surprised he didn't dump me right then and there. I'm sure I would have if the situation had been reversed. But that's it, I imagine morbid things sometimes, it just comes to me and I am powerless to stop it.

When I was pregnant I had a morbid fear, specially when on a motorcycle that something bad would happen. I would die or my child would die. It terrified me, often bringing me to tears in a matter of seconds, shocking my ex who was trying his best to drive safe. But there was no way to explain the panic that held me hostage in those moments.

The problem now is that fear of the unnatural and supernatural has faded. The fear that has taken deep roots in my heart today is fear of death. Not mine, my son's. And it is such an insidious fear. It makes me feel guilty even for thinking it let alone voicing it. But I need to let it out because it eats me from within.

I read about a biker being shot, a girl being axed to near-death, a five year old mysteriously dying after getting a fever and I break into a sweat. What about my son? What if some day it's him? All this time I've spent loving him, reading to him, putting him to sleep, having so much fun with him. Can it all really be snatched from me in a few seconds? And what if he doesn't die but struggles to live? Whenever I leave him I wonder if it'll be the last time I see him.

The thoughts alone make me ache like nothing else ever has. It is literally incomprehensible and the minute I think it I pray fervently that my thought doesn't translate into attracting this from the universe. What is this force? Is this the intense love I've read and heard about or seen in the movies which I was meant to feel for my partner? I can't understand it, I only know I haven't felt it before.

Another fear I grapple with is that which most women in the world and specially in our city deal with everyday. It just seems so heightened now. As a teenager I would rebel against my parents when they said don't drive alone at night. Today I say it before them. But when the fear works it's way into every aspect of your life you wonder how to make it stop. I went for a job interview (a job I got and love) in Janakpuri, and I remember thinking "What if it's a creepy guy trying to get me alone in some secluded area to grope me?". After having worked there for two months the thought still passed through my head when I was going for a pre-shoot meeting. Why? Why must women be forced to constantly think this way? How are we supposed to work, educate ourselves, evolve as people, enjoy our lives, anything, if we are constantly living in fear? No man wonders when he gets ready in the morning if that will be the day he gets molested or raped when he steps out of the house for an interview or a day at the office, why must we???

Fear of the dark, my quirky fear of hair and blankets, the thrill and accompanying horror of scary movies, they all seem so childish when faced with this. And yet a small part of me feels just the littlest bit stronger having said this. Is that really the key then? To air it out and let the sun shine so bright that there is no room for fear to lurk in dark corners?

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The things that I have learnt from my divorce...

I have bitched and moaned, cried and gotten miserably drunk, been angry and sad, but today I want to celebrate the good things my divorce has got in my life. There is no denying that the ex is a jackass. But having married him and by extension his family, his friends, his colony and then proceeding to divorce him has taught me a lot. And for that I am grateful. I have tried my best to live a life with no regrets and the person I am today is partly because of my marriage and divorce, and since I love who I am I have no regrets. I also got the cutest little baby boy to boot!

So here are the things I have learnt through my marriage and divorce. Things I need to remember in the weaker moments:


  • I AM STRONG: I am so much stronger than I ever believed I was. I always thought that if the ex walks out of my life it'll be over. What will I do? Who will I be with? Who'll take care of the things he took care of? But I realized that I have so many things to do that I often run short of time, I have brought in my life people who love me and support me and honestly he didn't take care of too many things. Whatever he did, I do it better!
  • I AM A KICKASS WOMAN!: My ex convinced me that I was un-fun, fat and ugly. And I lived with that conviction for a long time. But today I realize that was his problem and not mine. I am an interesting person and woman. I am beautiful and if other people don't see that it's their crappy perception of beauty that's the problem. I am a lot of fun! I have a lot of fun. It just has to be with the right kind of people. My idea of fun isn't just getting stoned and listening to fucking electronic music!
  • I CAN TRAVEL: So traveling was the ex's specialty. I always thought if I'm not with him I'll live a boring monotonous life without travel. On the contrary I can finally make travel plans and actually execute them! If I want to go to Vietnam I can plan it, buy tickets and go and not just keep talking about it.
  • I AM WHO I AM: Before my divorce I lived according to everyone else's expectations. My boyfriends/husband, parents, sisters, friends. I seldom tried to figure out what I like, want to do, want to be. I was happy just making other people happy. But when the shit hit the fan I was forced into a corner and had to figure myself out. I learnt more about who I am in the last two years than I did in the 29 years preceding my divorce. I figured out what's important for me, my motivations, who I am. And I'm happy with the results!
  • I'M HEALTHY: The stress of my unhappiness pre and during my marriage had made me a sick, unhealthy person. When I made the decision to get divorced it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Things started falling in place. I started losing weight, I started feeling healthier and fitter than I ever had before. I am today at my fittest, healthiest best. And I am loving it!

I have rebuilt my life, my career, my self-esteem from scratch. Had I not gotten divorced I would still be in a miserable marriage, sick as a dog, an unhappy mother raising an unhappy child. I'm glad I cut that thread. I am happy to be where I am today. So for all those times I have felt sad about my marriage ending I must say it's been the best decision of my life!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Blank spaces, White screens

I have committed to writing a book. I have given it a title. Somehow I imagine it will have a yellow cover and I see it sitting in front of the counter on a small mountain of books in the basement Om Book Shop at PVR Saket, greeting people as they walk in.

Yet when I sit to write it a strange thing happens. I check my mail, I scroll through facebook, I start planning my trip to Vietnam and Thailand. Then I have coffee. My mind reminds me I must work. So I saunter back to my computer and read about how to write a book. Should it be written as a memoir? Autobiography? Chick-lit?

Of course I must do extensive research on novel writing software. Which one is the best? Which one is free? Do I need to buy the one that costs $40? Quick Ctrl+T, www.xe.com...hmm...2,389.51 INR. Too much to spend on a tool that will infinitely help me in writing my epic story?

How does one go about publishing a book? Well let's ask all my friends who have published one or work for publishers. So off goes an email, proudly telling them I am writing a book and need advice on publishing. 

In the meanwhile I sit down to write. I have written a couple of paragraphs in the last several weeks. I stare blankly at the white screen and am at a total loss. The words run out of my mind. What is my story? Who are the characters? Fear grips me, squeezes tight. I feel this queasy sensation rise from the pit of my stomach and travel slowly to my throat, choking me. And then I break contact.

I click on the red, green and yellow circle that allows me to escape again into the deep abyss that is the internet. Where I can hear JK Rowling and Steve Jobs talk nonchalantly about their lives and how it all works out if you follow your dreams. Soon my son comes home. My work day has ended.

Another day of blank spaces and white screens. Another day of silences that scream. 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Movies and Me

When you're little you think one day you'll grow up and be a doctor. Or a lawyer. An engineer maybe. But not me. I had an extraordinary vision. I wanted, more than anything else in the world, to set up a subji ka thela outside Amitabh Bachchan's house. The premise being that some day he will come out to buy his own vegetables and I will meet him.

Roll around 1994 and I abandoned that idea as unlikely, at the tender age of 12. I saw my first Miss India contest. Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai (little did I know at that time that she would marry into the Bachchan family) left me starry-eyed. That was the way into Bollywood. I had to win a beauty pageant. And so began my experiments with short skirts and make-up only to realize very soon that I had neither the height nor the body size to make it to that platform.

You see I was obsessed with movies since I was a child. I would sit through the compulsory hours of Ramayana and Mahabharata required to be allowed to see the movies at night. It's a testament to my love for the movies that I remember not one whit of information from the epics but can recite dialogues from Do Aur Do Paanch. Same age, same time exposure, it's interesting how my brain soaked one thing up like a sponge and filtered out the other. (Of course now I have to tell movie stories to my son at bedtime instead of ingraining a love for mythology!)

The years went by and I figured theatre is a natural progression towards films only to be inflicted with a severe case of stage fright. After several years back-stage I chanced upon a summer film course by an FTII graduate and the deal was sealed. I had found my entry into films.

Like everyone who wants to enter Bollywood I packed my bags (17 steel trunks to be exact) after this one-month course and boarded a train to the city of dreams. And like most everyone who does that, I wandered around for a month, often without a place to stay, trying to figure out how to crack the code. I couldn't. I came back, humiliated, embarrassed at my naivete, dejected but still not defeated.

That's when I started applying to film schools. The day the call came from one in Calcutta I nearly wept with joy. Before anyone could say a word I was off. It was heaven. I thrived on the films, the classes, the people,  the conversations. The idea that one day I would actually make a film. I loved every moment of it, homesickness and all. I traveled to Bombay again, more confident this time, ready to meet actors and directors and tell them I'd like to work with them as soon as my course finished. I was shitting bricks inside but it was the trip of a lifetime.

And then I made the biggest mistake of my life. I met a boy and decided to marry him. No, that's not the mistake I'm referring to. With that decision came one to leave film school. In the throes of what I believed to be love, I made the worst decision of my life.

I once again packed my bags, justified it in my head with the stupidest reasons, and with a heavy heart bid adieu. To friends, to my dreams, to the love of my life. The movies.

I faded away into a life I hadn't wanted. I forgot who I was. Till I had my son. Someone very early on asked me what I wanted my son to be when he grew up. And so naturally the words left my lips, whatever he wants to be, to do what he loves.

The alarm bells rang. I couldn't escape the thoughts I'd often suppressed, wishing I hadn't left film school, wishing I could go back. The dreams were unending. Almost every night I would have clawing, claustrophobic dreams. I am back in the corridors where I had sat and thought about my projects, I was in the canteen, I was in the hostel trying to find my friends. But always, in the dreams, things would look and feel different. Like I was a stranger on the outside, not allowed in anymore. Not a part of it anymore. I would try to convince the dean to let me start again. And I would wake up aching deeply for the loss.

Soon movies I saw started listing friends names in the credits. They started getting awards and recognition. I was so proud of them but it always underlined my own failure. I resigned myself, albeit not completely, to the fact that I would never go back to a film school or to Bombay. Still my eyes would stray every time I saw an ad for a course in film-making.

I have missed out on the one thing I loved from before I even knew what love was. I take responsibility for the decisions that led to this loss. But I haven't given up. I write today, because that is what my circumstances allow me to do right now. But one day I hope that I will re-enter the world I so desperately wanted to be a part of. One day, maybe, I will write something that will be turned into a film, and I will be there, part of it, in a different way than I had dreamt, but there nonetheless.  

Bringing up boy(s)

When I was pregnant my then mother-in-law was convinced I was going to have a boy because of the way I carried my bump. My mother was desperately praying for one, insisting Krishna himself was coming to our house. My ex was ready to start teaching the little one how to trek (or roll joints) while still in my womb. Random strangers, not-so-well-meaning relatives, friends, the verdict was unanimous. It was going to be a boy.

I, on the other hand, was terrified at the idea of popping out a male member of our species. I fervently hoped and prayed that I would have myself a sweet little girl. I said again and again that I don't want a boy. I won't know what to do with one. You see I am the youngest of three sisters. My mother is the eldest of three sisters. All the extended family kids I interacted with were girls. I had no experience with little boys and my experience with big boys (or men as they like to call themselves) hadn't been that great!

And so on that fateful day, when the doctor proudly said "It's a boy", along with tears of joy I also felt my heart sink just a tiny little bit. (It plummeted when I was told I would have to pull back his foreskin and clean his penis while bathing! My head was screaming, I'll have to what???? There is no way I know how to handle little boy wee-wees!!!)

I soon found myself wondering what I wanted from myself as a mother and from my son. I thought of why I feel the way I do about boys. And I decided I want my son to be different.

I want my son to be happy and sad. I want him to cry when he is hurt. I want him to ask for comfort when he needs it and to give it when others need it. I want him to love, deeply. His life, the people in it, his work, everything he does. I want him to admit that he is scared and then face his fears.

I want my son to respect people. Men and women. He needs to know that sex, colour, race, class, none of them are a good reason to discriminate against another. He must respect each person, understand and empathize with their journey.

He has to learn that life is a series of choices and you're responsible for the ones you make. Not your friends, not your parents, not your girlfriend/boyfriend. Just you. Because each person has the knowledge, deep within them, to do what's best for them.

I want my son to grow up.

He will always be my baby. But I want for him one day to stand tall and proud and be a man. To make for himself a beautiful life and know that he did it on his own. To say this is what my mother gave me, the ability and knowledge to be the best person I can be.

And so began my journey. To get out of a hopelessly unhappy marriage. To shed the various illnesses that beleaguered me. To step out into the real world and rebuild my life. To learn to love and respect myself as I learnt to love and respect others. To be happy and to be there for myself. To work, not just for the money, but because it gives me a great sense of achievement. To reconstruct my shattered self-esteem and live my life on my terms with no apologies.

More than anything to be the kind of mother who can bring up a new kind of man. A man who doesn't prescribe to the subtle and not-so-subtle patriarchal norms our society lays down for men. To be a mother and woman he can love and respect. To set an example of how to live your life to the fullest.

In short, to be the best person I can be.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

What's in a number?

Apparently everything. As I bring out my calculator yet again to crunch up what the latest addition to my kitty of random part-time jobs brings to my bank balance, I realize how much our lives revolve around numbers. How much you earn, how much you weigh, how many times you've been on a exciting holiday, how old you are.

For a girl who was never fond of maths or numbers I find myself increasingly agitated by this whirlpool I'm getting sucked into. How much I'm earning, investing, spending, saving. How many hours I work. How many hours I sleep. How many hours I'm away from my son. Has the needle on the weighing scale moved a few digits in the right direction or not. My credit card numbers. My phone number. My account number.

Where have the words gone? What happened to the era where numbers weren't such a big deal? Where phone numbers were hard to come by and credit cards didn't exist? Where you weren't judged by the size of your waistline or the numbers on the scale?

Is it just nostalgia for a mythical era that never existed? Were different numbers doing the rounds then just as much as they are today?


Monday, 8 July 2013

How did it all go so wrong?

So I'm sitting here staring at my computer screen and thinking this is not the life I was supposed to be leading. I was supposed to be rich, married, slim, beautiful, well traveled, famous, published...so many things. And yet I am not. I am broke, divorced, mumble, mumble, haven't traveled in forever, so not famous and haven't even begun writing my Pulitzer winning book!

How did it all go so wrong I wonder? I reach my dark, scripty places and everything seems so futile. My deep, deep belief of unworthiness, of being unloved, of being a failure resurface and threaten to sweep away any real accomplishments I may have achieved.

It doesn't matter if I have a beautiful son who I work hard to raise. In my head I turn so easily into a bad, irresponsible and resentful mother. I don't want to raise a child, I want to be free. To do what I want, when I want. To go places and meet people and not worry about getting home to a cranky child who refuses to sleep.

My jobs, the fact that I have worked my ass off in the last year to get some financial stability all fade into oblivion. I'm the idiot who never figured out what she wants to do. I never understood my talent, potential, my dreams. I didn't pursue them out of sheer laziness and insecurity. Because I believed so strongly that I would never succeed that I made it come true. I am the girl who let the boat sail. So today all me peers are getting awarded and published and holidaying in exotic locales while I struggle to begin my career with little hope of ever making it big.

So what if the ex was an imbecile. When the darkness descends I convince myself that I am responsible for the failed marriage. I wasn't good enough to be loved and treasured. I screwed up. I should have handled things differently. I should have traveled with him so that there was no scope of infidelity. I should have been hotter, slimmer, funner, cooler. I should have made it work. It's my fault.

I planned a trip and bought my tickets. It's a step to being well traveled. But one day on facebook and I am overwhelmed by the number of places I haven't been to, will never be able to go to. I hate people who are studying abroad or living in USA and Europe and Australia and anywhere other than where I am. Because I wanted that so badly and I see no hope of having it. Not now, not in the future. Everywhere on earth seems better than where I am right now. It doesn't help that the ex gets away scot free and is "finding himself" while traveling the world. Fuck you!

My brilliant book ideas stay ideas because I never sit down to start writing. I'll never get published, I have nothing to really write, who'll read it anyway...a million doubts sit heavily between my fingers and the keyboard making it impossible to tap out the words. I write a blog and shrink away partly assuaged because I have written and mostly sick in the stomach because I have once again avoided writing the book.

So how did this happen? Where is my life? The one I had dreamt of, hoped for, prayed for? Is this it? Or is this just the route through hell that I have to take to reach it?

P.S. Read an article which I found interesting. It resonated with me. Attaching a scan.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

I'm not that girl

I'm not the life of the party. I'm not the one that makes heads turn when I enter a room. I'm not the hot dancer on the floor.

I'm not the good girl at the wedding who gets all the work done. Nor the traditional one who everyone loves.  And definitely not the sweet one everyone smiles at in approval.

I'm not the quiet one who accepts things as they are. I'm not the one who can turn a blind eye if she doesn't agree with things.

I don't remember names of movies I have seen. Nor the music I've heard.

I don't have witty comebacks.

I'm the girl sitting in the corner, nursing my drink. I will speak if spoken to and then also may mumble or speak too fast. I'm the girl who's too embarrassed to dance unless drunk.

I'm the girl who went out and got a tattoo but usually wears clothes that hide it. I'm the girl who's still discovering her sense of style.

I'm the girl who doesn't know how to play games and would rather have honest conversations. I'm insecure and afraid but ready to wear that on my sleeve because I hope to meet people who can deal with it and help me grow.

I'm the girl who's given up pretending that she's cool. Cool is just a word and the meaning changes over the years. I'm the girl who challenges people, to be better and truer.

I'm the girl rebuilding my life. The girl who gave up resenting her loss of freedom and failed marriage to embrace her son and her new life.

I'm the girl who got her shit together. I apologize to no one.






Saturday, 15 June 2013

Love

What is love? What defines it? Is it the rush of excitement when we meet someone who pays us some attention? Is it the romantic notions sold to us through movies and books?

I'm in a conundrum here. On one level I fear love. I don't ever want to love someone again. I don't ever want to give myself to another man. Love, trust, fidelity, everything that I grew up hoping for have been tarnished for me. I no longer believe in relationships. If ever I see a happy couple I am plagued with doubt about what's going on underneath. Or with jealousy that I couldn't have that.

But at a very basic level I can't trust the idea of love. I don't think it exists anymore. I've seen it in it's most convoluted forms, used to imprison a person and make them incapable of being happy. I've fought long and hard to get out of there and it's put the fear of god in me. I have no intention of going back down that road.

On the other hand I feel the deepest kind of love I can possibly feel for my son. The little monster has wormed his way in to my heart and my life so that now everything I do, all my decisions revolve around him. I can no longer imagine a life without him, even if promised freedom from all responsibilities. I willingly surrender to him my time, my money, my everything.

Is that not love? How is it that the same person can be fearful of and so deeply embrace love at the same time? How can two such extreme attitudes to love find a home within me? How then do I define this intangible emotion that is supposed to make the world go round?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Closure

It's over. Finally. As I breathe a sigh of relief my breath hitches and I wonder what that is about. I was done mourning right? I had grieved over my loss, gone through the stages, let the anger, the loneliness, the betrayal wash over me. I had allowed the sadness engulf me because only when it spat me out would I be able to continue.

Then what was this? Why was there a hitch in my breath and a dry sob at the back of my throat? Why did a tear threaten to roll out?

Because it's over. Finally. No more negotiations or hopes of a reconciliation. It is my reality. I have a failed marriage and nothing can change that now. I feel empty, drained. I miss him. I miss the life I had with him. And I so desperately miss the life I had wanted to have with him. The life that never got a chance. The life that was aborted before it could take a breath.

I miss the old Bollywood songs, sung on the dark roads of McLeod Ganj. The conversations that went deep into the night when we had nothing much left to say but didn't want to hang up. The special "I got it for you" haircuts. The names we gave each other. The sliding across the airport floor because we were just so happy that we had an extra half hour together. I miss the songs dedicated to me. The long rides on our bike. The roller coasters and amusement parks. The foodie indulgences just because we had a craving. I miss the morning cuddles. The lemon tea. The surprise hugs from behind. Looking into each others eyes in the mirror and feeling complete. Singing our son to sleep and then fighting over who's going to wake up when he opened his eyes in the morning. I miss the togetherness. Of having someone to hold, to love.

But it is over now. We didn't give it the nourishment it needed.

So goodbye my partner. Thank you for everything you gave me. I hope from today I will carry within the good memories and let go of the rest. And I hope someday we will be able to be together again. As friends, and as parents to the the most awesome boy in the universe.




Monday, 29 April 2013

On the fringes

You and I friend, we sit and talk over endless cups of coffee. We talk of work and family. We talk of our pasts and our futures. We share our dreams and desires. And we talk of how we are on the fringes.

We are the women who don't 'fit in'. I am divorced and have a child. You chose to remain single way past the marriageable age for reasons best known to you. We are the outsiders. May be that is the reason for our bonding. The thread that keeps us close. The fact that we share the experience of being the women on the fringes.

We are ready, oh so ready to let men into our lives. But where are they? Where have all the good men gone? Why can't they look beyond shapes and sizes and see how truly great we are? As you said, why can't they see the awesomeness within? Why can't we be loved even though we're not twenty-something, even though we aren't perfectly sized or flawlessly fair? Why can't we be loved for the incredible mix that we are, strong and independent, confused and goofy? We are strong-willed and stubborn but we still have a right to be taken care of, to be loved and nurtured.

We sit on the sidelines and wonder. Then a sneaky little thought creeps into my mind. Yes we haven't found this man, we say we are ready, we say we are not scared. But is that really true. And here I remove the we and make it I.

I am still scared. The idea of getting to know a new person terrifies me. The idea of letting someone know me is worse. I have built my life again from scratch and today I own it. I make all my decisions, from the ridiculously small to the momentously big. I'm not sure I want to let anyone in on that. I'm not sure I want to love someone again so that they are important enough for me to want to give up that control.

I have a son. He is my life. Can I let someone into his life? What if he doesn't feel the same way about him? What if he does? I won't be the center of my baby's universe anymore. He'll have a right to tell me how to do things, to be a partner in making decisions. It won't be just the two of us anymore. Can I deal with that?

And what if it goes wrong? Do I have the strength to go through heartbreak again? I climbed out of the hole I dug for myself in my marriage kicking and screaming. But I did it. I don't think I can or want to do it again. Ever. I am not that strong or that courageous.

I watched my aunt get married at 44 and I was overawed by her courage. To allow someone into your life, to change, to open the door, it is a tremendous act of faith.

Dear friend, I don't know about you but I don't have that faith yet. So for a little while longer I will watch from the sidelines. Till my heart has healed again I will be content being on the fringes.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Fighting resistance

This blog has nothing new to say (I'm not sure any of them do). This blog will not be publicized on FB or Twitter or anywhere else. This blog is me, fighting the urge to not write.

I committed to myself, and to anyone else who was willing to hear me, that I would write. And so in my classic style I dug out a book borrowed from a friend. The Artist's Way. 12 weeks to unblock your creativity and rediscover your talent. I read the first chapter. It seemed easy enough. I identified with most of what was written. I disagreed about the fact that I would resist doing the given exercises, I wanted to write right? It was my decision? Why would I resist?

I embarked on the journey, elated that I am taking steps to do what I want.

Skip to Day 5 - I am finding every excuse I can to not write. I justify it so well to myself. I'm tired, there's too much to do, the maid's on holiday, I must pack for my trip. The list goes on. Every fibre of my being is screaming that I shouldn't write. I didn't do the exercises and I didn't want to write this blog.

And so I forced myself to get off FB and write this blog. To write whatever came to mind. To be brutally honest in admitting that I am using every excuse under the sun to run from writing.

Which brings me to question why? Why am I running away when I feel like I truly want to write? The answers are fairly simple. I am scared. No wait, scared is too mild a word. I am terrified! I am terrified that once I actually stop running away and sit down to write, I will have nothing to say. If I do have something to say it will be of no value. No one wants to read what I write. And god forbid if it is quasi-decent writing, what shape and form does it take? I have a seedling of an idea. I don't know how to take it forward or make it interesting. What if I fall flat on my face?

Aah! So that's what it is then. That sneaky little fear of rejection has creeped up on me again. It's what stopped me in my tracks all through my life. It held me back from dancing at the high school parties, from singing in the choir, from coming on-stage in my theatre days. It's what pushed me to marry the first guy who asked even though he seemed grudging and unwilling even when he proposed. It's what kept me quiet all those years when everything inside me screamed to be heard.

So today I fight. I fight myself. I fight my fears. I fight to be heard. I fight to tell my story whether someone wants to hear it or not. And this blog is my first step. It's my first act of defiance. This is me saying no matter how hard it is, not matter how much I am told that I have nothing of value to say, internally or externally, I will speak. I will write because it is a commitment I have made to myself. I will not give up on myself again. Even if I miss a day, a week, a month, I will haul my ass back to the table and I will write. If my book takes 3 years instead of one, I will still carry on.

I will not allow anything or anyone, including myself, to stop me. I will not reject the idea before I have given it everything I have. I will not give up, because this time it's only for me and there will be no regrets.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Reconcile

I've been mulling over this word for a few weeks. Reconcile. I say it to myself, roll it around my tongue. I feel it. I taste it. I mutter it out loud. And then again I mull.

Reconcile. What does it really mean? Does it mean I let go? Of my past, of my expectations, of the future I had once dreamt of having? Does it mean a resolution to the constant tug-of-war that goes on inside me? There are so many things I must reconcile with. Such differences between what I think and reality.

I must reconcile with the fact that I am no longer the girl with the funky beads and multi-colored jhola riding an Eliminator. That beautiful piece of machinery rests with the ex and though it was my first love and I want to pass it on to my son it is unlikely that I will be a regular rider anymore. Yet I so desperately cling to that thought.

I have awesome friends, talented, beautiful, successful, sought after for many things. They intimidate me. Their unwavering love and faith in me intimidates me. Because I cannot, hard as I may try, reconcile my opinion of myself with what they have to say about me.

A good blog post, a poignant story, a film made by an acquaintance, the knowledge that people I know are at the top of their game, any of this can send me spiraling into the throes of depression. My deep and abiding sense of inadequacy and worthlessness spring into action, immobilizing me till all I can feel is the roiling sensation of bile rising in me. How is it that another person's life can do this to mine? Must I reconcile to this? Or is there any way of leaving it behind?

I no longer stay out late at night, drinking hard and living it up. I want to. So much sometimes. But I am a mother and my son will wake up early in the morning and a pounding head doesn't make for a cheery good morning. So I must reconcile. That part of my life is over.

I went from being a daughter to a wife to a mother. I never waited long enough to be me. The me I had envisioned as a teenager, living on my own, traveling the world, being an ace filmmaker or star chef. And now that time has gone. I will never get it back, no matter how my heart aches at the thought of it. I must reconcile.

I will never be head-turning beautiful no matter what is inside. Reconcile.

I may never become famous or be known for my skills. Reconcile.

I may never be the person who can engage in intellectual conversations on everything under the sun. Reconcile.

I am at war with myself. Constantly. I must let go. I must let the good energy flow through me. And for that I must reconcile. I must accept myself. But that is so, so hard to do.

But I am me. I love people deeply and stand by them. I give more of myself than I ask back. I am trying earnestly to be better at everything I do. And I will find my bliss someday I know.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Who am I?

It's a question that's plagued me for many years. Pages have been filled in my diaries and journals from childhood to youth with my existential angst.

Who am I? Why am I here? I know there is a higher purpose to my life but, goddamnit, what is it and how the hell do I find it?

A few days short of my 31st birthday and I'm still asking the same questions. I still don't have the answers. Someone very wise said 'Who am I?' is the most important philosophical question so I guess I'm on the right track.

And so I have taken it upon myself to delve deeper into that answer this year. To discover who I am and who I am not. To stop running around like a headless chicken, focusing on resenting others instead of nurturing myself. To commit to myself that I will persevere and not lose steam, no matter what the odds.

I will not become a chef. I will not sell candles, automotive parts or anything else. I will not open my own restaurant or any other business. I will not pursue an MBA, a film degree or any other course here or abroad.

I will write. I will write like my life depends on it, because it does. It is the only talent I know I have (Ok, I'm not sure I do but people have been telling me since I was a zygote so I am just going to go on faith here). I will write blogs, letters, articles, books, whatever it takes. And I will keep writing till the end of the year. Everyday, every season, through ill-health and weddings and crazy family putting their heads up my backside. I will write. I will write. I will write. I will chant it like a mantra and I will write.

Somewhere at the end of all this I hope I am a wee bit closer to my answers. I hope I will purge myself. Rid myself of the cesspool of rotting, stinking anger and resentment that's burning a hole through me. I hope I will be more at peace, breathe easier, smile a little more and mean it. Not cringe every time I hear of another's success and happiness, personal or professional. It is all I have to hold on to and right now in this moment it is enough. It will see me through. I will see me through.






Saturday, 23 March 2013

What if?

What if your world was full of silence?

What if the words you wanted to say, the thoughts you wanted to share never went past your lips?

What if you could never express your desires, your needs?

What if you couldn't take even a single step? Not away from danger or toward what you wanted.

What if no one saw you?

What if no one knew the creativity, the ideas, the brilliance within you?

What if the dreams you shared when you fell in love shattered? When your belly rounded with child and your partner whispered sweet nothings to the person growing within this wasn't what you'd bargained for.

When you dreamt of your little princess you didn't know she may never move. She may never run into your arms and give you a tight hug.

When you bought onesies with balls on them you didn't think your son may never speak. He may never tell you how his day was or that he loves you.

A marriage, already so hard that most people don't survive it, you didn't know that having a child will put an end to your personal life. You won't have time for yourselves or each other.

Suddenly the problems that regular people face seem so trivial. "Cheated on me", "Works too much", "Spends too much".

And yet when I look at you, through the stress I see strength. I see solidarity. I see two people who have come to love each other more deeply because of your child. Because of what each of you give and give up for your child. I see pure pleasure as you encourage your baby to move towards the next goal. I see the affection in the way you touch her hair, the way she puts her head in your lap, in the way you smile and talk when your baby sleeps after an exhausting day. And I see, always, faith. Undeniable faith that you, all of you, will make it.

If there is love out there, this is the kind I want.


I spent five days at the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, with twelve families from around the world there with their brain-injured children. It was one of the most deeply moving experiences of my life. I returned feeling blessed and thankful for everything I have in my life while at the same time wishing I had a partner like the ones I saw there. This post is for them.  

Friday, 8 March 2013

Free of deceit and untruthfulness

That's the dictionary meaning of honest. And yet more and more I find honesty difficult to come by. For is it not deceit and untruthfulness when we hide the truth even though we may not utter a complete lie?

When someone asks me how I am they expect to hear a calm, placid 'I'm fine.' Maybe even a pleasant 'I'm good.' No one wants to hear the truth. No one wants to hear the wretched thoughts that I have. The constant chaos in my head, one thought colliding with another, none reaching any fruitful culmination. Does anyone want to know how vulnerable I am, how scared and insecure? Hell, No! Let's see the cool and collected strong, independent single mother. She's handled it all so well. Umm...reality check...No she hasn't! She's a wreck and hasn't even allowed herself to figure out the full extent of the wreckage.

Which brings me to how deep this aversion to honesty runs. It's not just others who can't deal with honesty. It's so incredibly painful for me to be honest to myself.

I am hateful of people who are successful. If they are friends there is a small tiny piece of me which is happy for them but the rest of me is hateful. Because they have what I don't. They have what I want. They have what I could have had but for the fact that I never figured out how.

I am jealous of people who seem to be in happy relationships. For the same reasons.

I am suspicious of people who seem to be happy in relationships. Because I have no faith any more. In love. In men. In relationships.

If you're thick with your cousins or parents...you're on my list buddy. Cos that's what I always wanted and never got.

Live abroad? Holiday internationally? Got a wad of money? Yup, I may smile when you tell me about it but inside I am seething.

Now here's the thing. It's been so difficult for me to write this. To admit to these horrible, petty thoughts. If I were to do it in person you'd say 'Aww c'mon you don't really mean it' or 'You'll get there, look how hard you've worked and how far you've come'. Well, I do really mean it. And I don't want to be placated. This is how I feel. And it makes me come across as vulnerable, insecure, petty and jealous because that is all part of who I am. It is not all of me but it is a part of me. So there's honesty for you. Not pretty huh?

So that is why we all run, as fast and as hard as we can from the truth. We all dance around it. A waltz where we carefully step around any truths that may slip out of another. Play the game. The eternal game. With a partner, never let on to your feelings. You play hard to get and he'll follow, you run after him he'll bolt.  Why can't we both just say this is what I need and find happiness in that knowledge?

Professionally, project an image. Play the game. Talk the talk and walk the walk. Why? I'm new here. Why can't I say that instead of pretending that I know more than I do so that I can get work so that I am not new to it while I am still new to it?????

I don't want to play the game. I want to say what I feel. I want to be honest. I want to be free of deceit and untruthfulness as ugly as that may be.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Fear

I scare easy. Say boo and you'll have me jump five feet in the air. But the deep, primal fear I felt last night was different. Very different.

My belly full of way too much food, a cigarette dangling from my fingers I was walking down the main lane of Hauz Khas Village with four other girls. Time : 10:30 pm. I hear someone call out a few times, "Excuse me!". I walk on assuming it's to someone else. But he follows and asks if I know the location of some restaurant. I don't. I say he should ask a shopkeeper. He says they don't know either. He steps closer, gets a  strange smile on his face. My friend is quicker on the uptake. She tells him that's not what he's looking for. What does he want? He says why don't you come into the car and I'll show you what I have.

In my head the warning bells aren't ringing, they're clanging. I'm out with four foreigners. We're taking autos back home. What if these guys force us into their car? We're in a crowded space but who'll help? What if they follow the autos? My heart is racing, I'm breathless. I'm remembering every warning I've ever heard and wishing I'd called my dad to pick me up.

We walk to an auto and after several refuse one guy agrees. The whole way I stare at him. Every hand movement is scrutinized. I don't even pull out my cellphone when a message alert comes for fear that if I get distracted and look away he'll make a move. I engage in an internal debate over which route leaves no possibility of  an empty stretch of road. He takes out his cellphone. Will he call his friends and ask them to stand at a point we pass, help him pull me out of the auto or rape me in it? I told my parents my friends will drop me, good lord I shouldn't have lied. He touches his leg, is he feeling a weapon? I am crippled with fear. I can't move, I can't breathe, I can't take my eyes off this man. Except to briefly look back and make sure I am not being followed by the other. A distance of four and a half kilometers, which takes barely 15 mins to cover and I am a nervous wreck.

I reach my house and relief washes over me in waves. Nothing happened. I'm safe.

But is that really true? Did nothing happen? I spent fifteen minutes condemning a man as a rapist just because he agreed to drop me home in his auto at 10:30 pm. He may be a simple guy. Might have a family he works hard to earn for. May be he has nothing but respect for women. And as I say thank you bhaiya to him while paying his tariff he doesn't even know how I vilified him. I wonder if he'd smile and say goodnight the same way if he did.

Am I safe? If I were, I doubt I would be in this state just because I took an auto after dark. The fear I felt, the magnitude of it, shook me. I couldn't shake it off, I didn't sleep well at night. I kept replaying everything in my head just with different endings. What would have happened if that man had taken me into his car? What if he had followed me? What if the auto guy hadn't been a decent bloke? What if he'd called more friends? I can barely imagine myself overpowering one man, but more than one? Impossible. How different my life would be right now if any of that had happened. I surely wouldn't be sending my son off to school and writing a blog!!!In a few minutes everything that I've been reading in papers became so real.

It rattled my notion of myself as a strong, independent type woman. Every single patriarchal notion flashed through my head in those twenty minutes. I shouldn't be out so late. I shouldn't take public transport. I should have asked my father to pick me up. I'm glad I didn't dress provocatively. What are the other girls wearing? No skin show? Phew! Are they being too loud? We shouldn't attract to much attention.

Every thing I protest against.

And as I came home, each member of my family looked at me accusingly and asked how I'd come home. Why didn't I call to be picked up? Had I been stupid enough to take an auto alone at that time of night? I lied. Of course not, I'm not a stupid teenager. I didn't come alone. We were five girls together, my friends dropped me.

Monday, 18 February 2013

I resent him

It's the truth. I've tried to mask it in as many ways as I knew, but the hard, cold truth is that I resent him.

I resent that while my life, (and when I say life I mean when I shit, bathe, eat, go out, do work, socialize, masturbate,  plan trips, sleep...) revolves around my two and a half year old midget monster and his routines and schedules, he gets to do what he wants when he wants.

I resent that he can party and travel. That he can sleep when he wants and wake up when he wants. I hate that he can lead an exciting fun life while I am tied down by responsibilities. While I need to work out finances and logistics.

I despise that he walks free all the time. I have to find baby-sitters if I want to go out for coffee. He can hook up with any girl of his choice. I have to think about how to get out long enough to even find a guy. And then worry about how my son will deal with it.

I hate that he plans his next trip before he's back from his current one. I can barely manage one trip a year without my son, and then too I am racked with guilt for leaving him. Worried sick about how he'll be. Not to mention that being broke and looking after a child doesn't leave much money for travel.

It pisses me off that his idea of making an effort is landing up twice a week for a few hours to play with his kid. I mean seriously??? I play with him, discipline him, feed him, put him to sleep, send him to school, pick him up from school, clean his poop, wipe his vomit, nurse him when he's sick, and stay awake all night when he can't sleep!!! 24/7! And he's making an Effort??? Oh and of course he feels entitled to pass judgments when the bi-weekly visits happen! All the things that aren't being done right for his little one. Ever thought of doing it yourself?

I am angry that his idea of child support barely covers the daily essentials. Am I the only one thinking of our child's future? And I'm angry because he has all the money in the universe to live it up and party while I think a million times before spending 500 bucks on myself.

I know I should be patient. He says he's trying to change. But I'm sorry. Too little too late. I don't see the change. I RESENT HIM.

Oh you've got my goat!

I was sitting in a doctor's clinic waiting for my turn, my head burrowed in a book as always when I heard divorce being said on the television I'd been ignoring. You don't usually hear the word divorce on Indian television and so my head snapped up.  By the time the advertisement was over, very different things were snapping within.

Let me tell you a bit about me here for a moment. I'm someone who's very hard on herself. I find it difficult to give myself permission to be sad, to feel pain, to take it easy if I'm exhausted. I feel the need to keep going. To say 'hey look at me I'm so strong'. And so when I got divorced I said ' hey look at me, I ain't crying all day. No drinking myself senseless. It's not such a big deal. I'm being responsible and taking control of my life and my son.' Aren't I so cool?

No. I'm not. It hits me again and again. I feel I've put it behind me and then WHAM! I'm struggling with it all over again. And being hard on myself all over again. I don't talk about it because I feel my friends don't want to listen, will get bored, will judge me as weak.

But you know what? Divorce is hard. It's a deep, lacerating pain. It never quite fills. It leaves you with no sense of self. No confidence, no self-esteem. It's hard because no matter how much you keep telling yourself it's the right thing to do, it's good for you, still it's one of the toughest decisions you make. You go back and forth, try to reconcile yourselves to staying in the marriage, try therapy, try role-playing, try everything under the sun. And when it still doesn't work, you say enough. It is not a decision made or unmade in an instant.

It is not a decision taken casually or lightly. There is no amicable divorce. You can't be friends with your ex, at least for a while. And that first time you hear he's with someone else, it hurts. You don't love him anymore, you're not jealous, but it hurts. There is no easy divorce.

So back to the television. There's an ad playing out for a well known laminates company. The woman strolls in, gruffly demands the signed divorce papers. Man looks sad, questions her need for speed. While he goes to fetch them woman strolls around and sees the new laminates in the house, comments on how things have changed. When presented with the papers she repeats his question about being in a rush to get divorced. Both laugh. Ad ends. VO says 'Ek jhalak mein badle dil.' A 35 second ad and there you are. That's the understanding they have of divorce. Seriously? Divorce? That's what you use to sell laminates?

The state of advertising in our country, and most others, is pathetic to say the least. All day we are told that if we don't buy a new tv, fridge, washing machine, laptop our lives will not be complete. Beautiful women sell everything from cement to deodrant. But for me this hits a new personal low.

Please Mr.Advertisor! Grow up and treat yourself and the audience as responsible, intelligent adults!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Seeing like a feminist...Speaking like one?

"Reading this book will leave you feeling angry all the time. Because you'll see things where you never saw them before" said someone at the launch of Nivedita Menon's book Seeing Like A Feminist.

I couldn't agree more. I haven't read the book yet but I see like a feminist. And I am angry. A lot. 

My cousin got engaged recently. Sweet enough bloke living in the Americas and working for Bill Gates. The family collected for the usual round of congratulations. And then it began. The girl hasn't completed school yet, and one of my uncles sagely nods his head, saying it's good to marry young "kyonki phir adjustment karne mein problem nahin hoti". Why not just go right out and say it's better because the girl hasn't had a chance to carve out her own identity yet and will seamlessly blend into the boy's life? The mother of the groom struts around like a peacock talking about how her highly eligible son floored the family and the girl in a glance. The girl is just dying to get married and telling her family her home is now in America. Of course she is! She's 18!!! You gift her iPads and show her dreams of living in USA. So much more exciting than her life in a small town in the hills. She hasn't lived in a big city. The romance of this good-looking man coming from another country and sweeping her off her feet is all that matters. But does she have any real perception of what her life will be? Does she know what a marriage entails? Can she stand up for what she believes in and not just give in to her husband and in-laws? Does she even know yet what she believes in???

It was like watching someone being bought. Like a piece of property had been purchased. The worst was when my cousin expressed his apprehension that she'll flunk her boards because of the distraction he's causing in her life (should have thought of that earlier buddy!) and my father said " arre ab woh zindagi ke sabse bade exam mein safal ho gayi hai, baaki sab toh ho jayega, kya farak padta hai". I was furious! Really? Is that it? A girl gets married and nothing else matters? Her education, careers, dreams, aspirations? All take a back seat because she found such a good catch? She was so lucky that she married? And my own father? The one who always told me to study hard and work?

But what really got me was that I kept quiet. I didn't say a word. I who rants and raves on my blogs, goes for book launches and protest marches, sat through it all without a single utterance. Why? I didn't want to create a scene, I knew they wouldn't understand what I'm saying, it would strain our already poor family relations...any number of reasons. I see like a feminist but why can't I speak like one. Against or in favour of.

Just a few days ago I found out that my mother's sister, 43 years old, got married without telling anyone. She had her fair share of proposals in her younger days but for reasons known to her said no. She went on to study and pursue an academic career as a professor. Now that she'd found someone, she went ahead. She didn't tell anyone, including her parents and siblings, again for reasons best known to her. So the guesswork started. It must be because of her age, she must have been awkward, maybe she thought people will refuse, how would people react, maybe she was worried about disclosing it to extended family. What the hell? The woman got married for god's sake, she isn't a suicide bomber! She did it on her time, with whom she wanted and ya she did it at 43 instead of 18 but that's her bloody business. As far as I'm concerned, if she's happy and he's a good guy, kudos to her. She did with her life as she wanted.

This time I did say what I felt. Only to be given the look that says, don't be radical, you know how society is.

Good lord, this word society. How it infuriates me. Where is this omnipresent society? The decider of everyone's fate? Where is it when it's women are traded like property? Where is it when the men think it's their birthright to insult, humiliate and rape? Why does it only rear it's head when women make their own decisions?

I've sat quiet while friends and family have said the most patriarchal, inappropriate, misogynistic and down right disgusting things. I am ashamed to say that I have sat quiet to avoid conflict and to appear cool with my friends. Who wants to be the girl who has issues with things? I'd rather be one of the guys right? The one who laughs at all the sick jokes? 

No, thank you. Here's my new year's resolution. I see like a feminist. And from today, hard as it may be, I will try my best to speak like one.