December 31, 2008

Fat Princess and Innocent Pea

For Karen, my favorite princess ;)

She was huge, this Fat Princess of ours. Not due to some genetic condition or anything she could control, because then we wouldn't make fun of her. She was fat because she was lazy, greedy and ate way too many fried chicken wings. And the Pea is exactly what it sounds like. An unappetizing, nasty, weird green, low-calorie piece of nutritious shit. Put food and our Fat Princess together, and what do you get? An eaten pea and a still very hungry, unhappy, slightly jigglier around-the-thighs Fat Princess. You need to understand that the Pea was just a helpless little thing and the villain was Fat Princess. But this is a happy story.

It was a dark and stormy night. Fat Princess had been out hunting for plus-size clothing the whole day. Since no one was as fat as her in the whole kingdom, and also since her clothes were all made by the town tent-maker, the whole thing was an exercise in futility. I don't really mean “exercise” literally, because on the way she managed to snack at every KFC in town, and the place wasn't called Kentucksyville for nothing. (KFC = Kentucksyville Friggin' Chicken, their motto “Just friggin' eat this shit”) Pretty futile, like I said. At the end of the day, our fair (pimpled, not hot, and certainly NOT wise) maiden got really pissed off. What the fuck?, she asked herself loudly with her mouth full, making people stare. I need a fuckin' break. She decided to party. Being a Princess has advantages. You can force subjects (hot guys AND hot girls) to dance with you and cut their heads off if they used the words “fat”. Or “plus-sized”. Or even “obese”.

Or “chubby”. She hated “chubby” so much.

It was 3 a.m. Fat Princess was feeling very trippy. She had smoked enough pot to forget life's large problems (pun intended), and was currently engaged in winning her seventh consecutive beer-pong contest. Suddenly she looked at the clock on her arm. It was actually a clock made for the church tower but ordinary watches were too small to be held in place by the long, thick ropes needed to strap the face around her trunk-like wrist. It was late, she realized. She suddenly had an idea (not being wise), and decided she should just go for a jog, lose some weight, get motivated, think about droppin a quarter pound or so, maybe even brush her teeth once a week or something. The pot was obviously laced.

She waddled for about a minute and reached a poor man's house. Please may I come in?, she asked meekly. She was high, remember. Otherwise she didn't do meek, our Fat Princess. She was what you call “In your FACE, BITCHES”. The poor man (actually a handsome prince put under a spell by a nasty witch, because otherwise this won't be a fairy tale) let her in, wringing his hands and hoping she wouldn't come close to him. This was of course, impossible, as her hips touched both walls at once, but he hoped for the best. He was better off being a poor man than becoming husband to the Lastest of the Bra Sizes. Can I please get eight bottles of whiskey please? To start with?, she asked in the tone of an angel. He shuddered. He downed several shots himself and contemplated suicide.

At 5:00 in the morning, he showed her to the bedroom and tried to edge out, without creating sexual friction. At 5:01, Fat Princess discovered the Pea. At 5:02, she ate it. At 5:03, she turned around and kicked the poor man's ass up through the chimney because there weren't more peas left in the house and she was, as she herself so neatly put it, “sooooooooo fuckin' hungry, you dick”. At 5:03 two things happened. 1. Fat Princess went to sleep in desperation and her snoring woke up 3,092,245,293 men who had to go to work in a few hours. 2. The poor man turned into The Prince. According to the Spell Law Book, 347th edition, “If a poor man is kicked up the chimney by a princess who is inebriated AND high on weed, he will find himself turned back into a prince and find himself falling through the royal bedchamber of her parents, to his immense horror and dissatisfaction. At 5:04, he found himself falling through the royal bed chamber where the King and Queen of Kentucksyville were sleeping. At 5:05 they were no longer sleeping. At 5:06, the Prince had begun his story.

It started with the Pea, he began. It was a dark and stormy night, he continued. Say no more, say no more, shrieked the Queen delightedly. I know the story. I saw something similar on Oprah. Fat Princess felt the Pea through the million mattresses in your Palace and you loved her because she is true royalty just like you and you came to ask for her hand in marriage. Say no more. She gazed at him dreamily. He was an answer to prayers. Now they wouldn't have to restock the Royal Refrigerator on the hour, every hour. The Prince would just have to go bankrupt feeding Fatty, as they nearly had. Oh well, his problem. The Queen was jubilant. The King just said, What the fuck? Okay, marry her if you have bloody cataracts. You're obviously bloody insane, but I don't give a shit”. It is evident where the Princess got her language from. The Prince wrung his hands in frustration, and then went to look for a clean shirt.

The wedding was held secretly because whatever said and done, grossly obese brides do not look great on tabloid covers. The Princess started smoking, as a wedding gift to herself. She decided she had “only one fuckin' life to live, and didn't care what the world thought. Screw all those stuffy assholes!”. No one in court dared correct her language. Soon she became a chain-smoker and rapidly lost lots of weight. Once she was thin, she was so stunning and beautiful that the Prince became crazily in love with her. Shallow idiot. They lived a long, fulfilling, happy life and died at the unwise, young age of 34, she of lung cancer, and he of bronchitis due to second-hand smoke. Their deaths were peaceful, and thankfully, they did not leave successors. Death did not them part. They were buried in the same grave, hands clasped together.

The country became a democracy and went through years and years of civil war. This made the people deliriously happy as they felt they were finally “livin' it up”. The Pea lived happily ever after too, albeit in mashed form, having been digested and curtly excreted, in the Royal Septic Tank. I told you this is a happy story.

December 27, 2008

Metastasis

(For my mom's mother - my giving, uncomplaining, angelic grandma, for Karen's mom - who was warm like my own, and for my professor's aunt whose painful death inspired him to become an excellent oncosurgeon. All these wonderful women died of cancer. God bless their souls.)

Malignant cells
Proliferate and rain down
Into the crimson
I swirl to the floor
Leave a patch here
Leave a patch there
And we all begin to grow

I become big
Me becomes many
We migrate
In search of new prey
A neuron here
A piece of bone there
The signs begin to show

A frenzied dancing
Graceful undulations
I laugh wildly
My army is strong
She becomes tired
She becomes weak
Then she is no more

December 23, 2008

Aunty From Hell ∼ An Indo-American Mini Soap Opera

Background: Most people the family haven't seen Bublee Aunty for the past ten years or so, and anyway, the kids don't remember her at all. She left for the States when her children were really small, and now they are grown up and all over the place. Pychotic Niece is a college girl but has lived in the U.S at some time previously and thinks she knows everything about life and its meaning. Stuff in brackets () is thoughts.
Suggestion: Whenever Psychotic Niece thinks, imagine a close up of flashing black eyes coated in thick blue mascara.

At the Airport
Uncles and Aunties:(Proud and jealous all at once) Arre, Bublee. You are looking so nice yaar.
Bublee Aunty:(Proud and merciful all at once) Thank you, thank you. I went to Florida for the summer. I needed to get a tan. Came out quite nicely na?
Pyschotic Niece: (What the hell? This woman is burnt so badly and she wants a tan? What, she thinks she's white or something? Indians don't need tans! I knew she was going to be like this. I shouldn't have come. What was I thinking? Man, I wanna barf right now. Or fall off a cliff in Florida and die. Do they have cliffs in Florida?)

After a Heavy Breakfast
Bublee Aunty: Okay, my little ones. I brought lots of nice, nice things from America for you.
Children: Yeah, thank you aunty. American presents!!!
Smart Boy: I want the most expensive thing in the suitcase.
Pychotic Niece: (Yeah, bullshit. I bet she bought clothes and toys from those nasty American wholesale stores, the ones that have large-scale sweatshops in India and China. They are such cheap shit. Does she think we're so ignorant that we won't know that? Look at all these kids clammering around her. Will they even look at her if she was poor? No, if they saw her walking on the road they would laugh and howl because she's so fat. Oh, what a materialistic world we live in. And this woman from America is promoting this. In her own family. We are all doomed.)

After a Short Pause
Smart Boy: I love this shirt Aunty. But can I have another one? This one says Made In India.

Long Pause

Bublee Aunty: Arre babba, spelling mistake. It's supposed to say Made in Indiana. That's where I live. I brought it all the way specially for you.
Aunties and Uncles laugh, but in barely- concealed indignation. All things from America should say Made in China. Only that was acceptable.

Psychotic Niece: (All my suspicions are confirmed. God must be laughing at us. An Indian toils in sweatshop and a multi-national company pays sackloads of money to transfer it to the U.S just so that another Indian lady can buy one on a 50% discount for her Indian nephew back in India. It's so messed up. I can imagine how she packed her suitcase. Just before she left from her posh home in her small-town suburb, she must have said, what can I get those poor, unfortunate people living in India? Then I bet she went to the flee market and bought the first things she saw. Yuck.)

Lunch Time
Bublee Aunty: (eagerly, to make people jealous again) Let us all go out to eat. It will be my treat. To celebrate Diwali. It will be really nice.
Aunties and Uncles: (eagerly, like they never ate out five times a week) Yes let's all go. We can buy firecrackers also on the way back. (Diwali is eight months away but who cares? You're the rich one who lives in Indiana. Bring on the dollars baby)
Bublee Aunty: Let's see, we can go to that Bhavan place. The one near the govt. College.
Psychotic Niece: (I knew it. She has the money to take us to the Taj if she wanted to, but being a cheap bitch, she wants to take us to some place like that shitty vegetarian restaurant. She won't take us somewhere outrightly awful, but just barely respectable enough to cover her fat ass.)

Timid Other Aunt: But... But... the children all like chicken very much. Maybe... we... can go somewhere better... like the Taj... special occasion na? What with Diwali and all? (Even Timid Aunt thought the same as Psychotic Niece, then.)

Short Pause

Bublee Aunty: Arre, didn't I tell you in the e-mail? I have become a vegetarian. For past two years, I haven't even eaten eggs.
Psychotic Niece: (You're vegetarian? YOU are vegetarian? From what ANGLE are you vegetarian? You don't look it. Your cheeks touch your collar-bone. You lie.)

At the Shitty Veg Restaurant
Bublee Aunty to Timid Aunt: You should do yoga, dear. Keeps my figure in shape.
Timid aunty: (I do NOT want your figure) Oh, okay. I forgot that you told me Guru Miwaoifkappa has relocated to America. I didn't know he lived in Indiana. You are so lucky. He is known for his yoga all over the world now.
Bublee Aunty: (with a shudder) Oh no, no. I go to a modern yoga class. It involves some cardio workout and involves pilates and strip-teasing also

HEAVY SILENCE

Psychotic Niece: (I would have sued.)
Timid Aunty: That sounds very nice. More payasam?
Bublee Aunty: Yes please. SLURP

Looking Through Old Photos
Timid Aunty: Oh look, Bublee in college.
Psychotic Niece: Oh God, she looks EXACTLY like me
Timid Aunty: Didn't your mother tell you? Bublee looked just like you when she was younger. Spoke the same, even dressed the same way. (You'll probably turn out just like her too.)
Bublee Aunty: Yes, you are my favorite niece because you are JUST LIKE ME. See, I bought you a nice Louis Vuitton bag as a special present.
Psychotic Niece: Aaaaaaaaaaargggghh (runs out screaming and starts a charity home for old people in the middle of the African desert)

Moral: If you somehow manage to get a look at your Future, pack up and run like Hell. It might be the only way out.

December 19, 2008

An Insignificance

But to see her was to love her, love but her, and love her forever - Robert Burns

She woke up at six a.m precisely and checked as usual. Nothing presented itself magically at her frozen nerve endings. Good, because emotion, or any other rot like that, was the last thing she needed. Carelessly examining her bitten nails, she picked up the phone and called in sick again. On loss of pay, they said. And yes, we are looking for a replacement. Whatever. She rolled over in slow motion and got up. The cycle was parked outside, the yellow-and-black colors already fading, and the rust visible in rather many places. It was his last gift to her. She idly thought of him as she searched for the keys. He had been quite nice; very understanding and sweet in fact. But terribly boring. They all were boring actually. But he had been quite nice. She climbed on and started pedaling slowly up the road. She did not look left or right but of course she took in everything. The rip in the child's clothing. The violent wound in the tree bark. The fear in the mother's anger. She knew these things needed to be there. This was the world and everything in it. The drunk beggar at the junction greeted her with a beatific smile. She nodded back, her eyes glazed. Charity is a fallen angel's gift.

The water purification plant just outside town was pretty impressive. It was a modern building, all steel, deep ponds and shiny pipes. It had been a retreat for her as long as she could remember. For years and years. She parked the cycle near a dome-like structure and sat down on the cement seat. The mother sitting nearby with two young children discreetly started wheeling the pram away. She watched them leave, without really bothering too much because it happened everyday anyway. It could have been her several tattoos, or her odd piercings, or the heavy black eye makeup. It was most probably due to the multiple symmetrical scars that riddled her wrists and neck, lines made in palliative attempt. Humans are quite shallow, really. A gong went off in the distance and the churning in the nearest pool stopped. The little waves tried to adjust themselves so that the surface could look placid and calm quickly. She got up and stood at its edge, observing with aloof disinterest. Maybe a change of scene would help, she thought. Maybe I could go to Greece and do some sketching of that ridiculous Colosseum. Or even Venice with its garbage-filled canals and ugly gondolas. Yes, Venice sounds quite plausible. Venice...

She jumped. No, it had not been her intention to do that at all, but struggle she would not, as there was nothing to struggle for. She did not make much sound going in, barely a few ripples. No soap opera, this. The muddy water enveloped her in a welcoming embrace and she gladly sank into oblivion. Her body floated noiselessly, calmly, one hand raised slightly above her head, and the other at her left breast. She did not look like Juliet. She did not look ethereal or pretty or delicate. She did not possess unearthly beauty. She looked exactly what she was, a twenty-four year old wasted hippie, who had gone through it all. Her body was used, worn, and now finally rested in Pool No.14 of the Municipal Water Plant.

There was a slight quickening in the air. Nothing brazen, but a tiny part of the space-time curve suddenly gave way. He dropped the drill he was holding and ran frantically through the nearest exit. It's too late, it's too late, mocked his voices. I know she's dead, he shouted back, sweat pouring from every crevice, spit escaping in speedy ejaculations. I know, I always knew it would happen, but I want to see her. He dragged the pool and lifted the body out. She was so ugly, even after death. No serene, peaceful smile to ease the passage. Why had she been so incapable of returning his love? It had always been so very hopeless. He buried her with whatever money he had. Put flowers at her grave every year. Remembered her every hour of every day. Till he died miserably in a run-down nursing home four long decades later. She never knew. It was all too insignificant somehow, the whole affair.

December 05, 2008

My Inner Face

But if there was a sequel
Would you love me like an equal?
- Belle and Sebastian, Is is Wicked Not to Care?

My inner face is that face I have on when I think no one is looking. Like your face when you're crying under the blanket. Or while looking at the mirror in a public restroom that seems deserted. If someone suddenly comes out of a stall and catches you, your expression will instantly change, but in that split second, some stranger got to see that inner, secret face you thought nobody would.

December 02, 2008

One Horrible Minute

(I wrote this on the same day I discovered the World Clock application on my mobile, had terrible PMS and my country was in shock over a bad terrorist attack. We still are but the PMS has moved on.)

Those who come a hundred or two hundred years after us will despise us for having lived our lives so stupidly and tastelessly. Perhaps they’ll find a means to be happy.
- Uncle Vanya, Chekov

00:48, Washington D.C
A drunk college sophomore is puking on the bathroom floor. Her lipstick is gone, and her eyes are red. Her stomach contracts in response to one tequila too many. She cannot feel the alcohol on her tongue anymore. Another night of hard drinking is almost over. It will probably be followed by some random sex. This is how college should be, she tells herself. She downs the glass of vodka she is still managing to hold.

06:48, Madrid
He sees the wizened tiny lady before she catches sight of him. This college professor has traveled across the ocean to meet his birth mother. He knows the stories, having been told them many times by his foster parents. Poverty led her to give him up and his life was better this way and all that. Tears gush down her wrinkly face as she puts her arms around him and whispers broken words of love and welcome. It should have been a poignant moment, a coming-together of the ends of a circle. He feels nothing.

09:48, Tehran
The woman checks her cell phone over and over. No text to inform her about the ride to work. She will have to get a taxi; she was running late for a business meeting at the news channel she worked at. She pulls at her burka impatiently and calls up the cab company. Being a divorced mother in this place was not easy. She had no friends, but her job kept her busy. Arbeit Macht Frei.

12:48, Bangkok
The man slowly nibbles on his sandwich, and asks the waitress for a napkin. The little girl at the table nearby turns to stare at him. Surgery for tongue cancer had left him with half a jaw and a badly disfigured face. The doctors said he had three months left. Pain radiates sharply over his head as he tries to smile at her. She screams, pushes her chair away and runs. She will always remember this moment with shame. He will forget, it has happened before.

18:48, Samoa
He watches her face as he rapes her. He looked deep into her eyes and she looks right back. They have been co-workers for six years but she was married and so happy. But today, high on meth and rum, today he cannot and will not control himself. Today he asked her out for coffee. Today he drove to a lonely spot and pushed her down. Today he is inside her, forcing his lust on her unresponsive, lovely body. She is silent, her brain instinctively shutting down, her emotions screeching to an abrupt halt. She can never tell anyone. Maybe he'll do it again, he thinks.

02:48, Buenos Aires
She looks at the baby in cold rage. The nurse placed it in her arm thirty seconds ago and the whole family is around her, cheering, some still not quite awake from the wait through the long labor. She hates the child. So much. She hates everyone. Take it away, she wants to scream. I can't bear this small slimy body on me. It wants love and care I cannot give. It wants affection and energy but I have none. She catches her husband's eyes. He alone is not smiling. He knows. He takes the baby and cuddles their first child. We will survive this, he whispers as he gently kisses her forehead. You will get better. She nods, exhausted.

21:48, Vancouver
He pushes back his graying hair as he leaves the woman's apartment. One more time and it's over he tells himself. Just one more time. His wife is at home, baking him chocolate chip cookies in the weird little arty shapes he loved.

05:48, Reykjavik
She was eighteen but scared of the dark. No one knew of course. It was just another night she is spending wide awake with the blanket over her head, trembling so much the bed wobbles. The trees outside the windows are violent ghosts and the pictures of celebrities on her wall move in strange motion. She suppresses her screams into tiny yelps and curls into a neurotic ball of fear. She needs therapy but the idea seems silly.

08:48, Baghdad
She stands in the kitchen, staring at the blank wall two inches from her face. He died last night, her handsome little boy. He blew himself up in the crowded market-place five streets from home. She had seen the images of his body on the TV early morning before her husband got up. They were calling him a terrorist. She cannot believe this. Her little Abu, who used to be so kind to stray dogs. The most sensitive and shy one of all her sons. He was a smart boy too, with an astounding capacity for numbers. He had wanted to be a physicist. Now his severed head was on every channel, his dead eyes open and expressing something alien to her. She collapses over the stove. How will she ever pray again?

23:48, Mexico City
He waits for the train to move. His fingers are sweating, leaving muddy patches on the newspaper he holds. How will he tell her that this woman he met is so much better than her? They have been together for so long, she almost an extension of him, and now he will be shattering her world. Her carefully-planned world of marriage and babies and special songs with awesome lyrics and earnest debates and long road trips on holidays. He did love her of course. But this new woman, she was magical. She was bewitching, and he couldn't stop thinking of her. She held him spell-bound in her intricate weave. He knew he could not live without her, could not breathe deeply till he experienced her. He had to tell his girlfriend today, but… he would never be able to meet her eyes. And he did not want tears when he only felt joy. He dials the number from memory as the train started to leave the station. Her life was going to fall apart.

11:18, Mangalore
Terrorists attacked Mumbai and some are holed up in a couple of hotels even now, the gunfights still raging on. The bloodshed is terrible. I'm watching TV and am haunted by the face of one of the attackers they keep showing. He was seen around the neighborhood for a few days before the shootings began and they captured his picture on a security camera on one of those days. He is so young, with a smart hair cut and a very attractive face. He is wearing Versace and holding an umbrella. He looks normal, friendly, even happy and relaxed. But he wasn't. He was insane. He's probably dead now, or going to die when the NSF gets him but I weep for his life. It could have been different.

November 27, 2008

Stillborn

Under the twinkling summer sky
There is a fly inside my eye
Which grows into a great big log
On it sits a pregnant hog
Oh ho ho says the sow
And takes off into the wild
I tie my woe into a bow
And weep for the stillborn child

November 22, 2008

10 Answers to Is There a God?

1. Drunk Friend at Bar: Dude, why are you asking me this? You always come up with some weird, deep-thought shit to ruin my fun. I don't know, man. Hell, I don't care. I think I'm like an anogonistic or whatever. Wait. Sometimes I talk to God though. Usually while chewing E so I guess that's not valid. Anyway, screw it. Beer?
(I think he meant "agnostic". We downed a couple of drinks and I left with a headache and a new word.)

2. Small Pimply Indignant Righteous Girl: How can you ask me that? Of course I believe in God. I go to church on Sunday. It is Obligatory. I say the Rosary and Novena everyday. One bended knees. I never open more than one eye, and that's only to make sure the family is watching. See this Scapular around my neck? I know my Catechism teacher told you to secretly spy on me. Well, go back right now and tell her that I have not failed in my Christian duties. I will be like Mother Mary till the end, even when I am no longer young and beautiful but old and boring with tremors and severe depression. Too bad for all those lowly shitheads who only care about lip gloss and handbags. They'll wind up in Hell. Oh shit, I just said "shitheads". Now I have to go do forty days of penance for bad language. This is your fault. You make me sick. For all this, I'll go to Heaven when I die and God will give me more gold than that silly boy next door who lives with his alcoholic mother. He doesn't even know Psalm 293.
(I need to find that Catechism teacher and tell her something's wrong somewhere but I don't know what. It might have been that kid's extreme paranoia… or maybe just her voice. Pretty nauseating child. And greedy as hell.)

3. Guy on the Pavement: A divine secret is about to be revealed in this place. I AM He you are looking for. I AM God. And I'll grant you just one favor for thousand bucks. In cash. I don't give credit. And there's extra if you want something from out of town or if it's non-materialistic or worth more than fifty bucks.
(I searched my pockets. Only five bucks. He'll have to wait till I save up and get back. I really need some aspirin.)

4. Desperate Housewife: Yes, there is a God. He gave me children and an amazing husband. My husband is cheating, and the kids are retarded, but at least we have a roof over our heads. Even though we live with my parents and they stay at the old-age nursing home. Hubby cheats on me because I don't deserve him. God gives us suffering so we become better, you know. Then we can suffer more. I believe so strongly in overcoming our trials so we become able to experience greater and more violent tribulation. I enjoy the heartbreak, I say, bring it on, because it is good and beautiful and pure.
(She is crazy, that lady. I didn't like her version of God. It sounded kind of desperate, if you know what I mean.)

5. Pretty Girl with 1000 Piercings: There is the One, and He lives across town. And we too can become the One, but we have to pay him to go through every step. And you have to get a piercing everytime. It's to allow the Meevatron particles to come from Up Above and get conducted through the piercings. The Particles are part of the Unknown Secret Plot to Make People Think Meevatrons Actually Exist. We eventually have so many piercings that we give up and just become Silver People. The One is the Great Silver Person. He has 73829 piercings and only listens to Hilary Duff. Want to join us? There are seven of us in this congregation. We alone know The One is The One. Others just think he's out to make money because he owns a silver shop.
(I think I'll pass on this Scientology off-shoot sect. But I know now where to go for a piercing. Just follow the Meevatrons.)

6. Junkie Traveler Dude:
God is in the sunrise
God is in the wind
God is in the ocean
God is in the rind
God is in the tallest mountain
God is in the apple pie
God is in the red bean bag
God is in the moldy rye
(There were 68 more verses but I walk away. I can't bear obscurity. And I really can't bear lame rhyming "Cat with a Hat on a Mat" poetry. Jeez man, go spoon the moon in June or something.)

7. Stoned Guy: No. No God. All life is an illusion. This world, this very universe you think exists, is an illusion. These books are an illusion. This table is an illusion. You are an illusion. See, I can put my hand right through you and you won't even know it.
(He tries to grab me then. Stupid asshole. I don't think he was that stoned. I don't even think he knew what "illusion" meant. Stupid asshole)

8. Intelligent Emo Girl in a Dark Scary Room: This life is meaningless. Where was God when they gang-raped that little kid? Where was God when plague wiped out millions of European lives? Where was God when they decapitate soldiers fighting for the only thing they believe in and made videos of them dying? Was God sitting on a rollercoaster and looking the wrong way? Was he eating burgers and telling funny stories to the Angels? No. He cannot exist. No one can willingly be silent, knowing that there is so much cruelty and pain in the world. This life, therefore, is an accident. It is worthless. I reject it.
(She swallows a pill, turns blue and dies. I hold her body and weep.)

9. Football Jock/Captain of the Basketball Team/Lowest SAT score Guy: Like, there's a God, see. I mean, like, he's this big guy with a beard and like, a white long dress and all. And, like, he wears this huge crown thing, and he kinda is, like, the ruler of the world. Like, he can point his finger, and totally like zap you off the planet. Sometimes, like, he can zap like a hundred people at the same time. Cool, yeah? I need to, like, get some ass now. All this talking has got me, like, totally, like, you know, horny.
(Dude, read a book some time. They have pages and things and you find them at stores. I turn to leave and immediately get crushed under the stampeding, squealing, cheerleader-like girls rushing to fulfill his needs. Bad.)

10. The Crow: I think God exists. If only because you need an incredibly smart person to make such incredibly stupid humans. It's so much easier to believe in The Creator than that I came from a monkey or sea-weed. There is so much we do not know.

November 14, 2008

Drunk Conversation

I'm itching to stop that professor mid-sentence and tell him about last night. I'd say, "Excuse me, Sir. I was out drinking with your son yesterday, when I suddenly threw up all over him in the midst of an intense discussion on the modern-day implications of classical Russian literature. So don't tell me nothing." That should wipe that sneer off his face.

November 07, 2008

Things NOT to Say Around Fat Girls

Note: Most of this is true. It happened to me.

While shopping at the mall, and she needs to pick up underwear. Don't say, even if you are really concerned, “Hmmm, aren't those a little bit small for you? They must be really stretchable, huh”. No, they are just the right size, and no, the elastic does not wear out after one go. And no, no, NO, we don't sneak back in the middle of the night to exchange these for a much, much larger size. We are not made that way. We sleep quite well, and most of the time we snore.

On the same vein, while shopping for clothes, and you stop to check out some stuff. If she really, really likes a shirt, don't start yelling to the shop guy at the top of your voice, “Hey, do you have an extra large in that?”. When we say we like that top, we mean that we are quite confident that it will fit and that we will look pretty good in it.

When eating at the mall, and she asks you if you want dessert, don't say, “Down girl! Damn, you need to watch them thighs.”. Not only will she order dessert for both of you, she will throw yours on your smug little thin face, eat hers up till the plate is dry and leave you to pay. She'll also order five different types of chocolate things to take away so you better have a full wallet. Fat does not mean stupid.

When she's hurrying quickly across the sports store without looking up at the treadmills, dumbbells, jump ropes, etc, that means that you should hurry with your face averted too. It isn't a good time to say, “Hey babe, wanna see how much you weigh?”. She will stop, turn around and abruptly sit on your dessert-coated sorry face. After abruptly putting a towel on it of course. That will be the Exercise of the Day. And a job well done. Hmpfh.

When she sees you looking at a SLIGHTLY thinner girl, try not to say, “Whaaat? You look sooooo much better than THAT anorexic bitch!” Not only will she instantly know that you are a lying cheat and a moron and a loser and a messed-up-fake-shallow-lover-of-skinny-chain-smoking-cheap-hoes, she will also start stress-eating. A lot. Immediately. AND casually while holding a giant chicken leg in one hand, she'll dunk your flattened, butterscotch-cake-covered face in the toilet. Yeah. That will hurt, won't it. So don't dare do that roving eye act around her. Fat girls are strong.

And finally, here are a list of things that only require the word “No”. Mindlessly.
Do you think I'm not thin?
Do you think this dress makes me look too, you know, not thin?
Do you mind if I take some/all of your chicken?
Do you mind if I take some/all of your pudding?
Do you mind if I, uh, have some more of your chicken? And your pudding?
Do you like thin girls?
Do you think I'm thin? (STOP! Trick question! Fat girls can be cunning too.)

Remember, fat girls are human. We have feelings, emotions and larger-width mirrors. Give us our due. Or at least give us our daily bread. With a triple order of fries and four large Cokes.

November 03, 2008

In the Valley

She sat in the corner and smiled
Madonna of the classroom
Lost her heart to the town jester
Now struggles to claim her own

Did anyone look to see
The rotting of a psyche
In the desire to please

She wears a pretty veil in her valley
The smile must go on

The Struggle for Democracy

Democratic country, my ass. We are a floundering-in-shit, confused and greedy nation. I know so many Indians who go abroad, saying they can't stand it any longer. As a friend put it, "If life is easier elsewhere, and you have you to work less to have a better existence, then why not?" I only had scorn for people like that. They were traitors. Traitors to the place they were born in, traitors to their childhood memories, traitors to the land that taught them all they knew. Worthless people who were not aware of their identity. I was wrong. Now I'm tired and worn-out. I am not proud of my country. Not anymore. Go I tell, as I see them off at the airports. Do well. Be amazing. I turn my back on the dizzying lights and walk into darkness again. The cries of the roadside beggars are magnetic.

India is made up of mostly villages. We have made progress, we are told excitedly. We are going to the moon. We have Louis Vuitton and Gucci outlets. We have so many multi-national companies working here that we have lost count. We have it made. True, if you consider a handful of metros. Bombay, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai. Tiny oases in the ocean of ignorance. Think about it. In any good-sized town in India, count the number of girls who wear jeans. The percentage will hardly be about 2 or 3. And they are either the town sluts or "rich family girls". The average Indian woman, then, wears only ethnic clothing, namely salwars or saris. Happy that we follow traditions? Very. Democracy for women? No. But how? A closer look at the situation will give you an answer. Walk into a crowded marketplace in any part of India wearing tight-fitting clothes and see the reaction. The men stare. They will turn from their positions to gape, catching your eyes, then ogling at your breasts. If you stop to talk, they converse with them too. Some young men, barely boys, will walk past and accidently rub against you. I feel violated but so helpless. It's an attempt at submission. Wear these clothes, and we WILL intimidate you. Go back to your traditional garb. Then you will earn respect, then you will be Indian. What happened to freedom to wear what you want? What happened to progressiveness and tolerance? Isn't that a key element of democracy? We have failed so miserably then.

We all know about dowry. The money and gifts the bride has to bring the groom on the day they get married. What surprises me is how casual people are about it. It is a great and mighty bridge, this horrible custom of ours. Everyone believes in it, the old, the young, the rich, the educated. Even all our metro people. There are laws against its practice, but oh how united we are when it comes to the wrong things. Dowry IS wrong. Period. It's actually illegal and you know that. There are several cases registered every week for dowry harrassment deaths. Untold accounts of unhappy women being tortured for more money by her husband or his parents, often resulting in years of quiet unhappiness. Even if there is no torture, there is silent, communal pressure. I personally know so many girls whose dads live abroad, alone, away from family, just to make enough money so their daughters have good marriages. It's about prestige too, you know. The hypocrisy forms an exclusive circle. It happens around me, in the very medical fraternity I live with. Look at these physicians. Men of learning, men who read intellectual novels, hold intense debate on philosophical things. Men of morals, men held in high respect in the community. They take dowry. Hell, they take the MOST dowry because they are doctors, the healers of suffering, the highest in the job chain. And the women. How hard they fought to get to where they are. They have degrees in medicine, in forensics, in surgery. She holds a scalpel like a sword. She paints like Raphael. She undertakes cuttting-edge research on obscure subjects. She is brilliant. But she gives dowry. She says, how else will I get a good husband? Our democracy is full of farts. Big, smelly ones.

We give bribes to get certificates. We give bribes to put our kids in the best schools. We give bribes to put them in medical colleges. We give bribes to get exam papers in advance. We give bribes to get bribes. We give and give and give, corrupting our land a little more with each outstretched hand. The wealthy get away with it and the poor drown in the dry bitterness of it all. Our educations are a lie. Our very knowledge is stolen and deceitful. What right do we have to tell the children to live right, when corruption runs through our veins? What right do you we have to walk upright and say I'm better than him, knowing that you're just richer and that the whole thing is wrong, wrong wrong? Look at our fellowmen. We love evil. We relish money more than justice, food more than honor, esteem more than courage. Our battle is stale. Our ideology, mainly grand words. We are not fooling anyone.

Yet there are strong people. A single man of integrity who will make up for a hundred lost souls. We are slowly moving forward. I will stay. I will put up a fight. I realize that not all can endure, not all can rise to the call. But I will struggle because I can. I will try to have integrity. I will hope that my neighbors are good men. I hope I'll never give dowry. I hope I'll teach my kids to respect women and understand true freedom. And I pray for my country. That more people will realize what it means to be part of the Democratic Republic of our beautiful India. That they will work for the nation we can be, without looking for momentary reward or cheap pleasure. Some day, I want to say, we did our part. I want to be proud of my country again.

October 29, 2008

Six Things You Didn't Know About Me Meme

This works by me telling you six things you didn't know about me, and then I put up links of six people I know with interesting blogs. I also link back to the person who linked me. So thank you Grace. She is, btw, one of the nicest people whose blog I have been following. Pretty and witty.
Okay, here are the six things.
1. My dog Frooty died nearly eight years ago and I still sometimes cry about it.
2. I'm an ENFP according to the Myers-Briggs typology test. Check yours on the Humanmetrics site.
3. I give homeless people a LOT of my money
4. I am a happy person. (you'll be surprised. I really am. Even though I cry.)
5. I really believe that in Heaven, you can eat whatever you want for free
6. My toes need to be covered when I sleep :)

Links:
Joe Plork: I don't think he actively blogs anymore but his stuff is sooooooo funny.
DJ Arabia: Good friend of mine... writes about the stuff that happens in college mostly.
College Call Girl: Sometimes raunchy, sometimes hilarious, sometimes touching. I love this one.
Angry Fat Girls: Dealing with being plus size
Concosm of Creation: Sharath and his moody beautiful things.

October 27, 2008

Running on Empty

(I wrote this a while ago, but it's one of the pieces I like. I used to feel this way at one point.)

Some days you wake up wondering where you are. Time, space, alarm and music juggle your neurons, making you disoriented. At times like this you feel like you dropped from the sky, where you were soaring on diaphanous wings a minute back. Reality kills oh so slowly.

You stumble through the routine, mind wandering through endless mazes. Eat, brush, bathe, shit, it all goes on, ruthlessly, every single day. You are forced to do these things, all of them. If you don't want to, you are harassed and ostracized by the mere definition of normal in most minds. You wear your clothes, put on the smile and walk out into the deafening sunlight.

You meet those people who call you friend. Casually wonder what they think, how they really feel inside. Listen well, and you can hear the hurt and the pain, the yearning to be heard, the effect of years of indifference and misunderstanding. It doesn't affect you anymore. It used to, though. Everyone learns sooner or later. You care too much, and one day they will choke you. So become cold, at least that way you do it yourself.

Lunch, classes, teachers, just people, all the same, all the same. Even you, you are the same, just like them. We are the same, little ants running around in an anthill. Never knowing their lives are a mess, a futility, a defined period of time before being smashed under a toddler's foot.

Go meet the boyfriend. Make out. Ruminate on whether he really wants you. It's not like it used to be before. Does he still love you? Really? It's not for your body, is it? Is it? Does he know you? Atleast a little bit? You don't think so. You barely know yourself, with all your horrifying thoughts, how would he know what it would be to be you? To walk in your skin and face the shit. All the shit, every stinking little piece of it. You are sure he wants to leave. Who wouldn't. You can't even stand yourself.

Back for dinner. You see the same old faces, wiser by the passing of a few hours. This second that you will not get back, not this one, not the next. Each cell is older, weaker, more ready to give up. Why does everyone seem so blah and unreal. You hate their expressions. You just want to run away. Get away from the looks and the thousand little subtilities. The traditions, the robotic crap, the phoniness, everything. Even the pretending that empathy exists.

You lay awake, staring at the stains on the ceiling. No point to the day, not like there ever is. You will fade into unconsciousness soon. Dead, but not rotting just as yet. The brief hours you feel less animalistic and nearly alive. You feel one whole day closer to eternal rest. I'm running on empty. But life is beautiful...

October 24, 2008

The Hamadryad's Cry

I'm that girl you suddenly see
When you're looking at a sketch of some tree
My body is woven into the wood
Yet my soul is free

It runs in the veins of my shiny leaves
It flies in tandem with the greatest ease
Along-side the tender swallow

My limbs will not move to music
Arms raised in constant need
Forbidding sky, won't you embrace me
Snow, fall down and numb my night
Spring must winter follow

The woodcutter came one dreary day
He brought his trembling axe
Down it came, a bloody blow
I screamed in silent hate

Look, look, the tree is crying
He said to his little brave boy
There's really no reason to be this sad
Shook their heads and together moved on
They will never know sorrow

My unruly curls are raked by the wind
My trunk stands tall and proud
I have no place to hang my head
I am the weeping willow

October 18, 2008

Underwater

I stand in this unexpected place, submerged to my chest in the chlorinated water. All outside noise dies away. I can hear only the roar of the small waterfall I'm under, and the sound of my quietly beating heart, pumping liquid through my inert body. Water above. Water below. Water within.

It falls in sheets over my mass of curls. My hair stands in two thick black ropes over my cheeks, covering all my face, except my nose that sticks out like the mast of a drowning ship. My vision is in parts. I can only see through chinks in the natural weave the hair forms over my eyes.

A song plays over and over in my head. Underwater, a favorite by Everclear.
It's not so bad down here, underwater
Once you get past the fear, underwater
Sense you through the haze, it's like a memory
I've been down here for days, have you seen me?

I wake from the slumber. My eyelashes stick to my eyelids in an uneasy heaviness. A small unquiet that is the alive part of me stirs. The beat quickens. I see. I see that it's a sunny day, almost blindingly hot. I see that I am burnt and unappealing to look at. I see that I am unmoved. My neck, wherever untouched by the flow, sweats profoundly. Water without.

I see two people sititng and sharing dark secrets, unaware of a world other than their own. Unhappiness will draw him to you like a drug and it will disperse its molecules throughout your bodies. You will share utmost misery and hence share utmost joy. Your energies will combine and equality will be restored. Water flows from a higher concentration to a lower concentration. Emotions work on physics laws too. A sigh arises from deep within. The unquiet is at work.

Shadows shift. It is noon. My eyes catch a sparkle. There it is again. It's my nose-ring, the white stone on it aflame. It lights up the center of my brain. There are countless sparkles in the brilliant sunlight now, a mini chain-reaction. The water above hits the water below, causing magnificent reflections all around me. Diamonds everywhere. My diamonds. Only I see them. Ephemeral they are, lasting a millisecond. Created for my eyes alone.
They are formed for my pleasure.
Brought into being by my raging desires.
I did nothing to deserve them.
But they are here, dancing a frenzy over my being.
And quelling my unquiet.
These are my jewels.
Mine, mine, mine.

You can never take them because they do not exist later. Only now. And I can keep the memories for free. They sing me a thousand lullabies and giggle with my deepest untouched soul. Matter is exchanged. Sparkles and darkness mix. The flow is harmonious, upward and onward. I am slowly lifted beyond feeling and sink into sweet sedation once more. Seconds are so dear, underwater.

Time to get out of the pool before people start thinking I'm a freak.

Case History of an Old Sick Man

Let me see now
Born in '32 on a farm in a village near the city
Eldest of seven strapping sons
Father died when I was eleven
Raised the others good I did

Oh, you mean why I came here?
I've been feeling down lately you know
I used to run over the hills
Smoke my pipe on top of the tree
Now my legs shake
With every step I take
My hands tremble
I cannot hold my cigarette
The sky is less blue
And my wife's face old and ugly
I think I'm losing my mind
Why, I coughed out so much blood last night
The floor looked like modern art
My joke, sorry

What do you mean do I drink?
The good Lord made the liquor
To ease the hard work of a decent man
I couldn't stop if I tried to and I won't
You'll find me dead with a bottle in my hand
Pouring it down in the funeral pyre

Ah, the children, we had four
They live far away in fancy places
The youngest visits once a year or so
But her swarmy husband makes me sick
I have no use for these computer jobs
Give me a shovel and some land I say
And I'll make a corn-field in the desert

It kind of gets lonely alone in the apartment
I wish they were here
I'm not really sick, am I

I feel all these aches and pains
But I can take them, been through worse
I don't sleep like I used to I agree
Lying awake till the wee hours
The scenes outside th window are strange
It's too fast, this world now
It's not really waiting for us The Old

Sorry
I've coughed like this for years

No, can't walk without puffing like a fat hen
Even the missus has to wait for me
For that matter, both can't see much either
I'm like a car battery dying, only slower

Why do you keep asking about where exactly it hurts?
The real pain I feel is humiliation
No reward for experience, the wisdom of years
And no one to talk to
Except you
My wife has Alzheimer's for seven years now
You're a very thorough student, aren't you?
Good

My memories are so confused
I get depressed from remembering
Just where I left the key last night
This old machine wants just to be sent home
In a bright, shiny coffin made to fit

Do I really have to pee into this bottle
Why am I so useless
I despise the indignity
But I don't feel so strongly about things anymore
Just letting it be

Give me something for the pain and go
You're young and unquenchable
Burn the world with your fire
Before all you are is smouldering ash

But I'm just a case to you
What would I know?

October 06, 2008

The Tale of Lesser Cinderella

(If you're looking for something inspiring, this is not it.)

For Aureen, the original Cinderella. I love you, you fat little pudding. :-P

Lesser Cinderella was walking down the road dejectedly after class when "POOF", a hideous old witch appeared. Her faded, tattered once-black dress hung about her large frame like a maternity gown doesn't fit on a child of two. She had seven protruding teeth and all the signs and symptoms of a chronic drug addict.
Aaaahh, I'm very scared, said Lesser Cinderella rolling her eyes. Who are you, some homeless person on coke?
Yeah, right. I'm your fairy godmother, in a manner of speaking, said the witch. Though the bloodlines got a little mixed over the centuries.
Eww, gross, said Lesser Cinderella. Do you ever read Vogue? Or, assuming your manner of clothing parallels your education, have you flipped through the pictures? Seriously, woman, take some pride in your appearance.
Darling, have you looked in the mirror lately? You don't look so unlike Dave Chappelle either, said Fairy Godmother smirking in a singularly unpleasant way.
What the hell are you doing appearing at five in the evening? Where were you when my misfortunes befell me? Anyhow, how many wishes and shit do i get?, asked Lesser Cinderella with a sense of urgency.
Oh please, do I look like my great-great-great-great grandmother to you? We have laws against magic these days. Too much trouble, said Fairy Godmother with a sigh.
Just my luck. Then why are you here? Do you at least reduce cellulite?, asked Lesser Cinderella very hopefully. You could almost see the cellulite quivering.
Nope. I don't break professional rules. I'm struggling through menopause and a triple mortgage. My husband left me to live in the Zoo with a particularly masculine giraffe and my teenage son listens to Britney. I keep thinking my vibrator is a magic broomstick and the goldfish looks like a black cat but that could just be the LSD talking. I'm a mess. She paused for breath.
Hmmm, I can see that. Do you know Vogue says NEVER to pair bare feet with torn skirts? Soooo not cool. Anyway, what do you want me to do about your problems?, asked Lesser Cinderella coldly.
There's nothing you can do, said Fairy Godmother. Except pray. Eat healthy, live right. Exercise some. Play good basketball. Life's a bitch. She vanished.
Lesser Cinderella walked back to her room, ate spoonfuls of Nutella, wondered about the Universe and fell asleep. She woke up the next morning, and the cellulite was still there. She felt completely herself again.

Lesser Cinderella was going to class one morning. She had forgotten to brush her teeth and hair and she was wearing her loud leopard-print bedroom slippers by accident but she was feeling happy. Something good was going to happen today. She might even, if extremely lucky, get through the day without ANYTHING happening. Those were the best days. Suddenly, "POOF", and there appeared Prince Charming. Oh no, she thought. I thought my Fairy Godmother was the only one who did this ridiculous dramatic entrance-exit thing.
Hello, she said. What can I do for you?
He was dressed in a green suit with too many buttons. He looked like a button salesman. He was short, almost midget-like. His hair was almost absent, and he stuttered when he spoke. He was also devastatingly handsome. So devastating in fact, that he wore a mask made to look like Queen Latifah's face.
I am Prince Charming, said he. But you can call me Lil P for short.
All right then, Lil Weird Prince Person, why are you looking at me like that?, asked Lesser Cinderella irritably. She had a migraine.
I am looking for your hand in marriage, Lesser Cinderella, he said imperiously. I am the Lesser Prince you see. It's a cruel pun, because it refers to my height. But that was what the Prophet called me before he died.
Which prophet?, asked curious Lesser Cinderella. She always seemed to be asking the questions. Never mind, actually. I don't care. So, what's the plan?
To fit the shoes on your feet of course. Don't you know the freaking story? What did you read when you were young...Penthouse? Okay, here is the shoe. Now put your foot in it (literally), and we can be married in the morning.
Oh, Lil Prince Lesser Whatever, said Lesser Cinderella sighing. Her cynicism disappeared. I never thought I would meet you. I already met First Love and Three-Week Guy but I guess you are the real deal. I haven't kissed anyone in more than a year. Please remove me from this dry spell, pun intended.
I will, dear Lesser Cinderella. Our kiss at the altar tomorrow will break your spell. If the shoes fit, said Lil P kindly.
The shoes fit.
They went back to wherever they came from, because the marriage would be the next morning, and there was no point having sex when they could just wait a day. He went to a fictitious land and she to her room. They slept soundly. All was well.
The next morning, as they were about to be wed, Lil P looked up and his jaw dropped.
Who IS that stunning girl in the front row? She looks like a lingerie model. DAMN, he exclaimed.
Oh, Paris? She's my step-sister. She agreed to come for the wedding despite having to cancel shooting an ad for Victoria's Secret. Why?, asked Cinderella. But she already knew why. Her inferior complex came up like the rising tide and turned her tiara green and blue, tie-n-dye style.
Lil P wasn't listening. He was already approaching Paris as if in a dream.
Nooooooo, come back, shouted Lesser Cinderella. You're going to be mine to cherish and to hold.
Never, shouted Lil P. I will marry your step-sister and make her happy. I will love her and keep her in sickness and health. If you stop me, I'll make you give those shoes back, I swear it.
Lesser Cinderella stopped dead in her tracks. Those shoes were Manolo Blahniks, the kind they kept talking about in the Sex and the City.
All right, you win, she said. We live in a materialistic world, and her budget graph currently pointed firmly at no shoes.
Paris took her place.
Lesser Cinderella hugged her and said, everything works out for good.
Paris laughed her practiced model laugh and said yes, I'm sure he's the One you know. I feel it in my gorgeous body.
Lesser Cinderella shrugged. One was as good as the other, probably. She wouldn't know. The ceremony went on. They looked comical, what with the height difference and all, but what does that matter in the matters of the heart?
The only remarkable incident was when Paris said "I do" to Lil P in such a seductive voice that the minister had a breakdown and had to be replaced.
The food was good. The wine was okay. The dancing was so-so. Lesser Cinderella drank a lot and thought that either Pimply Guy or Pink Shoe Guy or even Too-Metro-Has-to-be-Gay Guy might be the One. She gave them all her number. They all misplaced it. It was a delightful evening.
That night, cradling her shoes, Lesser Cinderella ate many spoonfuls of Nutella, wondered about the Universe and went to sleep. The next morning, the shoes were still there. And Lesser Cinderella felt completely herself again.


Lesser Cinderella was having a beer at the pub when Normal Funny Guy bumped into her. Hey, do you want to marry me?, he asked. It was a casual question, just in case rejection got too hard to bear. It deserved a casual answer. No, she replied, gathered the money she was going to leave as a tip and left in a hurry. That night, Lesser Cinderella thought about the Universe and tried to eat spoonfuls of Nutella. But it was over and the shops were closed. She sat brooding morosely on the economy of the country, and the vital role chocolate spread played in it. She started to think about the Universe some more. It was then that it dawned on her. Normal Funny Guy might just be worth a try. She lived in the real world, and she knew that fairy tales are make-believe, just like Snoop Dogg says. Unless you're Paris of course. Except... Paris was now fat, smoked too much and had three dwarf kids that looked just like Lil P. Hmmm. She started turning the Yellow Pages.
Five years later, Lesser Cinderella married Normal Funny Guy who suddenly discovered that it was love that made the world go round, broke it down into lovetrons and sold it in strange-looking bottles at exorbitant prices. He became a billionaire overnight and bought Lesser Cinderella many shoes. Except Manolo Blahniks. He couldn't stand those. And they lived happily ever after. Honest. They did. The moral of the story really is, these things happen.

Breathing Now

Rain falls
Mommy calls
I don't feel like going in

Body hurts
Fatigue flirts
I don't feel like stopping yet

Wind blows
Grass grows
I don't feel like trampling it

Movie stops
Credits drop
I don't feel like leaving here

Time crawls
Baby bawls
I don't feel like feeding her

Road bumps
Heart thumps
I don't feel like slowing down

Man lies
Love dies
I don't feel like breathing now

October 03, 2008

Moments in Mary Jane's Mind

(Written on an idle day, my mind in a place I cannot define, or maybe it was several places.
For Daffy, who thinks I'm “weird as hell”.)

It was you, it was you, who made my black eyes red.

THE AIR GETS IN THE WAY
I'm poetic, absolutely dramatic
I'm emotional, artistically erratic
I have to hold my breath to be
It all clears up then and suddenly I see

THE KITTEN IN THE BOX
The kitten stayed down
The crowd always pressing in
Waiting to snatch her
And carry out all sorts of cruel experiments
Pet her, stroke her
Their way of showing affection
It was terrifying
She crouched real low

The kitten stayed a kitten
Because she was too scared to grow up
She waited with a close eye on the world
She froze, couldn't move
But wouldn't tell why
She had no friends to hold her hand
They all learned new cultures and wandered away
They all knew they had nothing to say.

The kitten became existentialist
And on her own she cried
The key to freedom is sorrow
The loss will be hers alone
She sprang from the chains that held her
Broke free and tore away
She'll reach somewhere faraway and quiet
And teach herself her own story
Maybe sharpen her own claws

She'll grow into a fat old kitten
But never be a youngish cat

LIFE AND EVERYTHING, INCLUDING TIME
Time was going slow ten minutes ago. Now, it's going really fast. Time is an illusion. Everything is an illusion. So is this knife. I plunge it into me. Again and again. Die. Die. Die. But...I'm alive. I know it in my soul. Life then, is an illusion.

DAMN, THESE TICKETS ARE EXPENSIVE
Imagine, the airport tax is like five thousand bucks. Imagine again, the amount of money it takes to maintain these aircraft, smiling air-hostessess, moody ground-staff, etc, etc. Just so humans can get to another place really quickly, go back, and do the same thing next day. Why can't we make life slower so that there won't be any airport tax?... This is not the moral or ending I wanted but I forgot what is.
But it was bad, I tell you.
Airport tax, LOL.
Wait, I remember. The ending and moral were the same. And that is, that these humans are incredibly stupid. Especially those girls who wear stilettos to clinics.

THE CLOWN THAT CRIED
They like me. They want me to go with them. They like that I clown around and tell jokes. They can laugh at me instead of with me. They can feel that much better about themselves. They can say, “See, I'm nowhere close to as weird and psychotic as her. I'm a much better person. She is so messed up and obsessive, with absolutely no goals in life. What a waste of space. I'm so glad I'm me and not her.” Then there is finally hope and peace and light in their world again. I have made them happy through my sorry existiness, just being these raggedy bits that don't fit. It is because of my endless sarcastic jokes, and the one massive comedy I feel I have become sometimes. My clown hat is my bittersweet solace. They like me very much.

I THINK MY HEAD IS SCREWED
There must have really been people who looked like that whenever I saw them. Even though I might have been really too young then, right? I mean, why would my brain make them up? I might have been too small to remember details except to store their faces in a snapshot cache, sort of like the way Google does with deleted websites. You can't remember the place or date, but you do remember stupid things that seem meaningless, like the bright sunlight and the sweat on his face. Sometimes, you can remember their expressions. Most of them just look sad. Tired. Faded. Angry, even. Something so hopeless about them. I probably look like that too, to them, with tears always glittering in these swollen eyes. I'm talking about those people you suddenly see in your head and you go, “WHOA, who are YOU, big guy?”

THE TIME HITCHHIKER
Imagine a lecture. The eminent professor is taking you for a walk.
Picture for a minute, the primitive man. The pre-superhuman. These simple humans thought that burying nuclear waste was eco-friendly. Of course they realized their follies but only as they were suddenly destroyed and nature kindly molded them into these casts that are preserved even today. The casts, as you know, were retrieved using xenon analyzers at exorbitant expense. The early humans were unanimalistic as they could be. They wore ugly things called “clothes”, cooked their foods, and held weird rituals like “football games” and “beer-pong” to pass the time of their dull lives. Some were even atheists and all. Can you even contemplate such simple minds? Delightfully immature, as it were. We on the other hand, are so superior we leave them billion light years behind. We run around naked, eat raw meat from the rabbits, and fruits from the trees. Why, we even have quaint postal addresses. What is ours now? Hard to remember.. let's see.. yes.. No.1, Tree of Knowledge Road, Extreme Temptation Zone, You are Nearly There Sector, Garden of Eden. Nice ain't it. A very fashionable part of town we live in.. Thank God for that. Now, where were we...
Look, what is this big, inviting tree? Let's eat those shiny apples, shall we?
No, no. This is a lie. The xenon analyzer was just an old nut-case pretending to be a diviner, holding an old stick that was pretending to be a magic rod. He charges way too much per go, that tricky jackass.
Stop now, you are going back in time instead of forward.
Don't touch the damn tree. Come away before it's too late.
No, don't eat that apple.
Oh no. Oh no.
Oh no.
Time hitchhiking can be a drag. You see the weirdest things.

A DRINKER'S GUIDE TO HAPPINESS
Drinker 1: This is Method 1. You should get really drunk. Then you'll get really happy. Go out into the world and help the poor people. They'll be crying about their hard lives. Listen to them, encourage them. You'll make them happy. You'll return home, tire, bored and extremely cynical. So you'll go and drink some more. You'll get happy again. It's a drunken cycle but it's proven to work.
Drinker 2: This is Method 2, a more recently discovered one that the majority of people follow. You can drink and become happy. Then, just stay indoors, drink some more, and become happy some more. That's all you have to do. This way, if you don't distract the unlucky (pun intended) poor by offering to listen, they can use the free time doing better things. Like winning a lottery or less romantically, filling out applications for government aid. They can take care of themselves and you can talk to them when they buy the house next to you. You can discuss common things, like the price of tuition in private schools and the marks your smart children get. Then we'll all be happy at the same time, instead of at different times, as against the suggestion in Method 1. The cost of traveling visiting the poor where they live in far-off places is avoided too.
Drinker 1: Your way is cool too
Drinker 2: Thanks. I thought of it myself.

I WAS THERE
I was there before this great indignity was done to you
I was there before you bound me to you like a shadow
I was there when you saw the soldier take a bullet to his chest
I was there when you carefully never gave your best
I was there when you saw Daddy hitting Mom
I was there when you drank and beat your own son
I was there when they raped your body as you shook
I was there when the brute with the whip made you choke
I was there when you raced sweat-drenched through the rain
I was there when you tried to stop her putting the gun to her brain
I was there when you rented your first dirty movie
I was there when he touched your face and you gasped
I was there when you found out she hated you for surviving
I was there when she took your money and left
I was there when you were betrayed by your shameless offspring
I was there when you remembered even when I forgot

I was there before it all
I was there through it all
And I know it all
I let you suffer in silence
I really had nothing to say

Boys become men
Only when they see

September 24, 2008

On Turning 23

I look over
The dregs in the shot glass
Another round for the children please
This wild child has left the building

Ideology once set in metal casts
Slurry as rain on old newspaper
Only guileless imprints refuse eviction
Respect, mercy and belief in the Maker

I trace tortuous trails over bloodied footsteps
Feeling their intricate pain as my own
I'm not ashamed of understanding
I will for a lifetime shed these tears

Tantrums moulted and passions few
A performing tigress quelled and broken
Bewildered sometimes but never very lost
Peregrine at best and so aware

September 18, 2008

Clashes in Mangalore

"Lathi-charge" is definitely a term that only Indian people use, and only Indian people want to understand. "Lathi-charge" means that a puffing, overweight policeman comes running at you with an ugly fat long stick that reminds you unpleasantly of other things, obviously circumcised. You either run away with great dignity making howling noises of outrage, or you stay put and get beaten to a pulp by this unsightly object. A lot of this happened in Mangalore for about four days last week. Some strongly-religious Hindus accused some strongly-religious Christians of trying to convert some strongly-religious Hindus to Christianity. I hesitate to use the word "fanatics" because these are obviously mentally unbalanced people who just wanted some love and attention, attention being the principle thing. As part of the process, they decided to attack some Catholic worship-places. The Catholics got really angry, because they were not connected to the conversion thing at all. Apparently the strongly-religious Christians who got accused were actually not connected to the conversion thing either, but then the riots would be completely pointless and no Indian ever condones pointlessness now do they? The police said ah, chance to do something worthwhile and joined in gloriously with their "lathis" swinging, and beer bellies bouncing. It was kind of shocking that they hit women and children (yeah, like, kids) but again, you always have some people trying to be important by shocking means when all the good ways fail. Then various political people got involved and said stupid things that didn't mean anything except "Don't not vote for me please". The whole thing seemed to be getting rather out of hand, till all the angry people ran out of angriness, got bored and went home. Apparently this is how most riots function. Luckily, apart for one stabbing incident and some nasty bruises (some on nuns, quite disgusting), everything got over without loss of life. The incident made front page news of course. Such an enormous amount of nothingness obviously made it very important. Peace.

September 15, 2008

Wandering Lover

For Marvin the Paranoid Android.. I would have cared.

Come with me to see the Universe
Take a ride on a shooting star
Watch the Earth blow up in pieces
On front-row seats eating Snickers on Mars

Let's cruise on Pluto's waterless oceans
Wearing shoes made of velvet cheese
We'll make fierce love under silken covers
On branches of ugly Venusian tress

I'll tell you tales of my thousand lives
As we down blue whiskey from Saturn's breweries
We'll get wasted on the second biggest asteroid
And feed each other Neptune Blackberries

We'll smoke some of that fine Io weed
Listening to Bob Dylan screw with our brains
I'll twirl a mile into the dense lithium
Landing high on the Great Phobos Plain

Over our planet remains we'll hover
Blowing brick bubbles about the place
There's you and me and all other matter
Only thing I see is your care-worn face

September 13, 2008

I Danced

All my life I have openly, obviously and persistently wanted to dance. I joined a classical dance class when I was about six and it was all good for a while. Just when I was sure I was the next whoever, Beyonce or someone, the dance teacher, this moldy ole man who moved like a girl, told me I needed extra classes to catch up with the rest. Lots of extra classes. I quit. To save my self-respect. We all need to selectively ignore feminine men sometimes. In school I took part in "The Tiger Dance", was the guy in "The Ballroom Dance" and some poor misguided friends made me part of "The Celebrity Dance" out of pity and regretted it forever. I took ballets lessons for a week too. There. Now you know my entire history in the world of graceful movements.

Well, our college competitions started last week and I had "The Whim" again. The last time I had "The Whim" was seven years back and everyone thought it was over with "The Celebrity Dance" but no, it was back. It's a different year, different place and a different set of friends. So they agreed. I practiced very, very hard. And I sucked even more. All the guys would stand around and laugh and laugh as i tried so unsuccessfully to look sexy on the chair step. According to one bystander, my face always had the expression of "someone confused, horrified, wondering why she was torturing herself".

The day of the competition arrived. Nothing much had changed of course. It never does. We wore waistcoats, super-cool harem pants, cat-eye masks and had chairs, pompoms and cowboy hats as props. Ready as we ever would me. I took my poor, frightened and extremely made-up face backstage. Our team was on towards the end so I watched the various others go in and out. It got worse and worse as everyone tried to console me. They said things like, "We're dancing just for fun, not for the prize" and "Just go and do whatever you can. It's ok". Yeah, WRONG thing to say. I felt horrible. Then, just like that, we were on. I blanked. The lights were ditzy and I couldn't see anything. The smoke billowing from the floor was drying out my throat. Before I knew it I was sitting back in the audience rubbing off the rouge from my face. "You were really good", said this mousy girl next to me. Yeah right. Ok. But someone else said it. Then someone else. Then someone else. Then a lot of other people. And I was glad. And my dream had come true, however cheesy it sounds.

More than anything else, I realized that I define my limitations, not some pansy dance teacher. This is not a fairy tale, and we didn't win, but I was good. And that's all that mattered to me. Peace.

September 09, 2008

Sphincterin' It

Today the class was on some part of the GIT. "Which is the most sophisticated, wonderful sphincter in the body?", asked the balding, enthusiastic professor. Everyone fell silent, minds working furiously. If you answer right, you get to be cool n shit. Med college is very nerdy. I was bored. Extremely. And kinda depressed. "ANAL sphincter" I yelled. It became even more silent in the oppressing heat. Every pimply face was turned towards mine in extreme horror and repulsion. "What is wrong with you???" screamed every disgusted face. "Nothing. I wanna skip class and watch a movie but I'm broke hence I'm here. So fuck you", I replied in the same eye language. The balding professor stopped and peered through his ancient bifocals at me. Time stood still.

The boy in front stopped picking his nose. Serious trouble.

"Very good. You are absolutely correct! It IS the anal sphincter! What is your name young lady?... Now class, do you know WHY it's the anal sphinter? Because it works against gravity, can hold water, air, all kinds of............." His voice trailed off into the cosmos as I stopped listening. I eye-middle-fingered all the prissy people in the front rows and let my psyche take off into the unknown. It was going to be a good day, son.

Ode to Pediatric Ward

(Dedicated to Rhea, on account of her misfortunes)

This kid has a bandage on his head
All covered up but nowhere to hide
Spittle's on his hand and his upper lip is two
His kidney's missing some parts too
They broke his skull with a drill
And said they're making it better
But he'll not what you call normal
And he isn't going to be

This baby has Down's Syndrome
Quite a common occurence, they say
Her I.Q is way below
And she'll never be a surgeon
Like you or me or her brother
These children are happy children
"Life is not as complex"
No it's sure not, see her smiling so
And two and twenty make five

Look at this newborn baby
His body is all blue
His stomach's completely out
As he has no abdominal wall
They're looking at the clock
And waiting for the stork to come back
To carry him and stuff him into the mud
He's taking up too much space
The senior resident shakes his head
It's all too much

There's a mother crying
It's her third child and he's emerged
From the innermost part of her
More precious than any heart
A womb, a tiny Big Bang
He slid down her bloody canal
And entered the first Hell he'll know
She smiles as she holds him close
Let's all just live for now

Searching for Peace

Respite in a busy month. One long weekend, the only one for many weeks arrived. I went with my friend to her grandma's place in a tiny, tiny village in the mountains. The house was small but filled with a lot of love. The place has all these people who work in coffee estates and tea plantations. A simple and happy life. Not famous. Nor rich. Nor beautiful. Not even very intelligent. But happy. How I wish I had that. One sad thing we found out was that Vasanthamma was dead. Who was she? A maid who worked in the house of this rich man who owned huge amounts of land. She grew old in his house and fell sick. He put her in a stuffy small room a little distance from his mansion and left her to die. I went to this village a few months ago with my friend during another long weekend, and her granddad took us to see Vasanthamma. The room stank from about ten feet away. She lay on her bed at a weird angle, covered by a skimpy blanket even though there was no fan to cool her. Her daughter whispered that no one could move her as her bones were broken in several places. No one? Oh please. They have stretchers these days and ambulances and things. I remained silent. I was just a stranger her with no connection to this dying woman and no rights. Her eyes were cloudy, filled with muted pain. They expressed intense gratitude as she answered in gasping breaths questions about how well she was feeling. Even though she knew saying she was ok was a lie. We all knew it. Mercifully she died a few weeks after we saw her. When I looked at everything around me in that humble place, I felt the simplicity so much I choked. Birth and death. Work and weariness. Festivals and gaiety. I want the peace that comes from the routine, everyday mundane things. I want that peace so badly.