Insomnia

If you are anything like me, you will have known nights like these. Thoughts keep you awake, your body is begging you to sleep, exhaustion is taking you down but your obstinate mind refuses to blink. Your brain will ignore the pleas of your body and calmly proceed to rip up and shred every incident and every conversation you have had during the day into tiny, tiny pieces and then surgically slice each piece into particles and quarks that can be obsessed over for the rest of the night.

I have been questioning whether I am forcing myself to be alone or if I am truly enjoying the feeling. Do I pretend I don’t care, or do I really not care? Am I cold and prickly, or warm and gooey in the middle? Am I the asshole I think I am, or am I simply pretending to be an asshole?

I take pride in my rationality. It has been my compass in every decision I have taken, and yet I have found a way to stop obsessing which had nothing to do with rationality. The only way to seek who you truly are is to look within yourself. Your subconscious mind will provide you with clarity.

When I forgot to be mindful of how I appear to other people when I sit alone in cafés for hours, I knew I was truly comfortable being alone. When I became oblivious to people’s stares and judgments instead of merely ignoring them, I knew I no longer cared. When I could walk away with tears in my eyes, I knew I was strong enough to be vulnerable.

I saw myself without a mirror. And then I closed my eyes and slept.

Character sketches

I’ve come up with a man. I mean a plan. To write about my man. Or to write about my need for a man. Or to write about weird men. And women.

Maybe I’ll just write. I could title it ‘Nonsense.’ Here goes Character Sketch #1. (Cuz I can’t sketch.)


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I somehow managed to come up with this. (Click on pic to check out this cool guy when you can)

The first time I laid eyes on Pandu, I was reminded of a really tall, lanky frog. He had bulging eyes and wore round specs. We met at a free seminar on beetles by some renowned entomologist. Pandu sat on the seat next to me and snored loudly. Although it was quite entertaining, after a while I poked him hard in the ribs. He jumped, looked at me, then grinned, winked, rolled his eyes and stuck out his tongue, all at the same time. One could see he was quite mad, and I got the sense we would get along just fine.

During break time, I gobbled up 3 sandwiches and was gathering up my bag as I swallowed the last bite, when he appeared at my side, an entire foot taller than me, not counting the crop of curly hair sitting atop his head. I opened my mouth to make up an excuse about having to dash somewhere, when a tomato slice popped out. Solemnly he caught the tomato, and plunked it back into my mouth. Wordlessly he proceeds to sling my bag over his shoulders, and lead me out the door.

Turns out, he had attended the seminar thinking it was on the Volkswagen species (he has a mad fascination for cars). But I thought it was an honest mistake, could happen to anybody.

Pandu didn’t talk much, but when he did, the words came out a little slurred, especially around the ‘R’s, like he was always a little drunk. He cracked dumb jokes, and sometimes whole minutes went by before he realized you aren’t laughing with him. He liked his peace time, and was easily accused of having attitude and being rude. But most often than not, here was a goofy person who was bound to make you laugh.

He really was a crazy one, and yet oddly talented without even trying. He was also a magician of sorts. He would clap on, clap off, like Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty, and the lights would come on. He could moonwalk and break dance like he was Michael freaking Jackson, and sometimes it was like he had no bones. He could eat with his hands tied behind his back. He’d look at the food, and a long tongue would shoot out and gobble up the food.

His hair was altogether a magician’s mystery. Few people have dared to put their hand in his hair, not knowing what to expect. Things camped in there, and I have pulled out lice, rabbits, and pigeons from in there. One day I even got my hand stuck, we had to call emergency to get my hand un-entangled.

Fascinating creature, Pandu.

Isolation

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They all see me stumbling blindfolded, scraping knees and elbows, dashing right into trees and rocks… And they think, for sure I am falling, falling into the valley below with no hope for survival. They look at me and wonder: I have my hands free, why don’t I take off my blindfold and open my eyes? Why don’t I look at the bodies below, the very people who had veered off the road and fallen to their destinies?

I have two options. I can meekly accept ‘my destiny’, this road that they have chosen for me. Or, I can suck in my gut and tell them that my chosen road is down that valley, to cross into new horizons. That I am not falling, but if I do fall, at least I tried.

What then, becomes of me who stands against this so-united world in their attempt to tame me, to rein the wildness within? Isolation.

Extrapolate

Under society’s stern stare, I am the same person I have been for years. I live in the same house with the same disgruntled parents, I drive the same bike, pursue the same profession, and my look hasn’t changed much over the years.

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Society really isn’t complicated at all. It is set in its simple ways. Fashion trends may come and go, but it takes generations to have an impact on the thinking of the collective, especially the Indian minds.

If you ace a professional qualification, you’re right on the track. You’re in a relationship with someone from a good family, of your own caste, religion, profession, etc and they let you act as you please. You have a cultural hobby, such as singing or classical dance (in addition to the well-accepted profession that earns you good money), it means you’ll easily find favor with the prospective in-laws.

If there’s one thing society has perfected over the years, it is extrapolation.

extrapolate

ɪkˈstrapəleɪt,ɛk-/

Verb

  1. Extend the application of (a method or conclusion) to an unknown situation by assuming that existing trends will continue or similar methods will be applicable. “The results cannot be extrapolated to other patient groups”
  2. Estimate or conclude (something) by extrapolating. “The figures were extrapolated from past trends”
  3. Extend (a graph, curve, or range of values) by inferring unknown values from trends in the known data. “The low-temperature results can be extrapolated to room temperature”

Society’s definition has a somewhat different application. They measure up the past behavior of the kid, and extrapolate it to decide his / her future.

“The future happiness of one person can be extrapolated from past 10,000 years of Indian civilization.”

First thing they ensure, of course is that the kid hasn’t run away from home in his teenage years. Then they make sure he hasn’t dropped out of school / college to start off some business. Disinterest in academics and entrepreneurial spirit are big crosses on their list. Society does not bother with these types; they are outcasts. And in case the outcast makes it big on bright business ideas, then one by one, they come crawling back, eating up their words, and licking clean the crumbs off their plate. But that’s another story.

The next thing you need to do is ensure you’re not (publicly) a drunkard / smoker / stoner, and also do not possess any knowledge / special interest in sexual matters other than what is taught in school sex education. Of course, there are ways and means to lead such lives in secret, and as long as one knows what you do, you have a place in society.

If you haven’t fallen off the grid by now, then this is what will, or must have happened to you. This is your future, as the graph must, and will, extend to:

  • An accepted level of education

They really prefer it if you are an engineer, doctor, CA, lawyer. Such degrees ensure step 2. If not, a graduation level education is a bare minimum. That ensures a paying job at the least.

  • A stable earning job

Here it’s better if the company you work for is known among social circles. Better yet if the company is located in some IT park and you have a company cab / bus picking you up right near your doorstop. Bonus points if your company gives you a laptop / car for your personal use!

An MS degree from the US is the new rage. Studying in the US, and then staying back to pay off the loan means stability, independence, respect, and a good match for marriage.

Once things are well established on the career front, the focus turns more personal. Skip the next step if you are in a relationship that’s accepted by the folks (Instead of accepted, read: date fixed for marriage)

  • Searching for a prospective bride / groom

This is probably the most complicated aspect of Indian society. They start the process early, so as to give a couple of years’ margin to find just the right person you can spend your entire life with. It usually means you register yourself on some matrimonial service, and even fill out a form specifying the kind of partner you are looking for.

Believe me; they have specifications for height, weight, and color. I’m not lying, I’ve seen it. The whole process is comparable to a commercial market … imagine a showroom for cars. You specify speed, color, model, make, price, average, fuel, dealers, discounts… Get it?

I can go on and on… but I’ll reserve this topic for another day.

  • Engagement

A formal engagement is really an invitation for people to comment on how good the young couple looks together. It’s also an announcement to the world that the two previously-eligible bachelors are no longer in the market.

  • Marriage

The excitement, the extravagance, the costs, the reception, the drama, the tears…

And thus begins the married life, which, for the girl is a new life in a different set of closed walls, with a different narrow society of in-laws.

If you’ve done it right until now, a big whoops. It’s not easy till here, and it’s not getting any easier.

  • Kids!

That’s right, what’s coming up, are kids. Right after you manage to fulfill basic expectations like own house, own car.

And then, your life is an upside down tangle of adhering to society’s expectations, and once you do that, soon you’re on the other side. In a few short years of watching your kids grow up, you begin to heap your own understanding of society’s expectations on them, and the cycle continues…

Simple, isn’t it?

Talk to me. If you have managed to break out of society’s barriers, or wish to, let me know. I’m sure it can be done.

Some chicken, a haircut and a blowjob?

Have you recently strayed (for no apparent reason) from the way to your man’s heart? Are you looking to cool things down just a little, where some footsie or a little grope under the table says bring it on, but makes you want to run a mile when things start getting a bit too serious? Is this the point where the arms of a relative stranger suddenly seem comforting and inviting, and the temptation to cheat gets overwhelmingly real? Have you expressed all this (most of it) and broken his poor simple heart and now want a grand gesture to make it up to him and ease off some of your guilt? If so, some chicken, a sexy haircut and a good ol’ blowjob will make his day. Soon he’ll get his jealous nose out of your cell phone and personal texts and want to bury it someplace else.

But it won’t ease off your guilt, not really. At first, you might be shocked and outraged at your own thinking. You know this was just the easy way out of a hard (difficult) situation. Then you’ll start questioning whether you are turning into a slut. And after a night of casual tossing and turning you realize you don’t really care. You tell yourself that you deserve to have some fun, a couple of close friends agree and say this is what ‘youth’ calls for, and then you come up with terms like ‘innocent fun’ to explain your loose morals.

Yet you could never possibly begin to explain this type of ‘innocent fun’ to anyone in your social circle. They wouldn’t understand, and you’d never try. Why cheapen yourself in the eyes of others and risk being branded a slut, especially when you haven’t yourself figured out if you are one? It’s an hypocritical society where every girl keeps her inner slut hidden deep inside and then finds it prudent to gossip about girls bold enough to let the world see her for who she is.

Wondering what happens next? Probably you get over this phase of flirting and fooling around and decide to get serious in life. Maybe you’ll find someone who understands and even channels this side of your character, and you find true happiness with this lucky guy. Or perhaps you end up passing through a string of meaningless sex and faceless guys till you realize you are more fucked up than ever. And then you find you don’t give a shit about loose morals and prudent bitches. You say, ‘Fuck it’ and then simply start living your life exactly the way you want to, like there’s nothing left to hide deep within.

The rebel

She was a rebel,

A free thinker,

amidst a restrained society

 

So they heaped blame

To feed their own egos

 

Predicted her future-

filled with regret

Looked forward to saying,

“Told you so”.

 

She had to keep fighting

to prove them wrong.

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This is my 42-word response for this week’s Gargleblaster challenge.

This week we’re paying tribute to Gabriel García Márquez, who was one of the greatest writers of the last century. This week’s ultimate question comes to us from One Hundred Years of Solitude:

“Tell me something, old friend: why are you fighting?”

 

Fully cloaked

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We’re all just microscopic ants, really
crawling all over the vast earthy expanse
Someone falls off the face of the earth
Every day, every second; Who knows, who cares
other than a shovelful of other ants…

Does anyone care what I think? Read what I write?
Will anyone notice me, if I step out as just me?
Maybe not. Maybe people see right through me.
Unless, unless… I defy the current
The tidal wave that seeps through generations.

Continue reading “Fully cloaked”