Someday

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We’re at that point now. I don’t know where my life’s headed. You don’t know where yours seems to be going either. It’s not a cross road. It’s fuzzy vision. What’s two steps in front of me cannot be seen. It’s scary. I feel my heart begin to race. I turn to my right. Guess what I see?

Someday.

It’s not a place. It’s not a moment. It’s a face. It’s a person.

Someday.

In a little world of our own, you’ll come home to me. There’d be no goodbyes. No airport kisses. Just you and I.

Someday.

A bowl of soup and a lot of Netflix. Dala curled up around my feet. His head resting on my ankle. Yours on my shoulder. Our hands intertwined. I’ll squeeze tight every time the wall moves and the mother screams, “Will!” But I won’t be afraid. If the walls were to ever come alive, I know I’ll have you by my side.

Someday.

After dinner that should have been lunch, we’ll go on that walk I was never allowed to. The clock past midnight. Your arms around me, tight. As the curfews of the past seem to float away, the breeze I’d longed for becomes the cherry on my cake.

Someday.

Your work will get to you like never before. My ability to understand walking out the door. That screaming match I’d always feared. You’ll give me hugs instead of papers. That tear rolling down will tell tales of insecurities. Ones I’d never had to speak.

Someday.

We’ll fight over where the tv goes. Why you’re not allowed to keep those ugly clothes. How much space you need and how little you clean. You’ll end them with your crappy jokes. That laughter reaching my eyes like it always does. Remind me again, what were we fighting about?!

Someday.

That house will slowly become a home. Something I’d spent all my life longing for. The future no more a far away dream. It’ll be now. It’ll be here.

Someday.

This fuzz will fade. Our paths so clear, but never meet. Unless you hold my hand and walk into mine. Or I… into yours. Giving up dreams. Shedding family.

Someday.

Our hearts will race. That choice we make, changing everything in its wake.

Someday.

I’ll sit on that patio, overlooking the beach. A glass of chilled wine and Dala at my feet. My children running around with sand in their hair, happy.  The door behind me opens with a little creak.

He’ll walk through the door to put his arms around me.

Someday.

In a faraway land. In a home that we built. We’ll smile at the little ones. The hands holding me, putting my heart finally at ease.

I’ll turn to my right. Guess what I’ll see?

Someday.

Why do you care?

Remember that time your parent stopped on the street to intrude and question a stranger’s choice and you found it so embarrassing?

How many times have you said, “Oh my God. Why do you care? It’s their lives!” ?

Do you follow your own advice? Are you sure?

How many times have you stopped on someone’s status message or tweet and responded to it because it offended you and didn’t match your idea of what is right?

You don’t have to tell me. But answer to yourself with absolute honesty. Have you ever looked at something someone said, felt bothered by it and took it upon yourself to tell them about it?

Today, I rooted for Casey Affleck to win the Academy for Best Actor. Old classmates to new friends had a problem with the fact that I wanted a man who has been accused of sexual harassment to win what is known to be the most prestigious award in the film fraternity. He won. And I clapped really loud.

A few days ago, I put up a status message on my Facebook:

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This bothered people. Now, my question could have been genuine, but so many people rushed to tell me how, “It’s her body, it’s her clothes, it’s her hair. Why do you care?”

So let me ask you, why do YOU care?

I asked this on my page and I ask this here again: Have we, as a generation, become more easily offended than the ones before?

Maybe not.

Maybe you don’t see as many people on the street to be offended with as you do on a social media platform and so it seems to us like we’re more offended. But is that really it?

Or has the ability to hide behind a glass screen enabled us to become more entitled to our opinions?

We have more access to information than ever before. To different perspectives. Where there was one side of a story, we now see three. We hear things. We can evaluate it. We can choose our rights and our wrongs. But it also means we now have an opinion about absolutely EVERYTHING. Things I didn’t know. Things I couldn’t be bothered about are now within my attention.

I like Barack Obama. I was in the US when he was elected and I liked him. I didn’t care what he did in his first 100 days in office. I didn’t care what his healthcare bill was. I didn’t have access to that information and I didn’t care. But I follow Donald Trump. I know what he’s been doing in his first 30-40 days in office. I know what I don’t like about his policies, his behaviour, his tweets, his language, his manners and him. I have an opinion on who he is and what he does. It’s not a good opinion. I’m very vocal about it on my Facebook and occasionally, on my Twitter.

I find it offensive when someone says they voted for Trump. It’s so obvious to me why they shouldn’t have. But I know that they’d have their reasons and I never comment. I will never go to a person’s status or message and ask them why. It’s their choice. If they thought he was their President, it’s their personal choice.

I can be offended by him. But I can’t expect everyone else to be.

Yet, that’s what we’re doing as a generation.

We’re so up in everyone else’s business, we forget that we actually have the option of walking away.

Because, here’s the thing – Our comment, our opinion, our offense does not change who that person is. Not everyone is meant to think like you or I do. If you ask Trump, he’ll tell you a list of reasons why he acts the way he does. It’s offensive. It’s so morally wrong.

But he didn’t take the office. He was voted to be there. Clearly, there are people who agree with him. I can’t change their minds. I can try. But I will get nowhere with, “Oh my God, what’s wrong with you?!”

This world is filled with people who think and act differently. Walk into the four rooms in my house – You’ll find my father’s room in silence, my mother’s room filled with soap operas and drama, my sister’s room with regional music and mine with Ed Sheeran. This is just one house, in one city, in one country, in one continent on this massive planet.

We can’t all always agree with each other. ACCEPTING DIFFERENCES IS KEY TO A HAPPY WORLD – Isn’t this what we’re all fighting for? Whether it’s in gender, in political beliefs, in personal choices, in opinions – it’s okay for you to disagree with someone and IT’S OKAY TO WALK AWAY.

Manchester by the Sea made me feel guilt and grief when I had no reason for either. It made me mourn a man and a family I didn’t know and doesn’t exist. I sat glued to the screen wanting to reach out and hug a character who felt dead inside. A character portrayed by Casey Affleck. I don’t approve of sexual harassment. I don’t think “settling out of court” is a show of innocence. I don’t care who he is outside the screen. I can’t remember that last time I saw a movie of his before and I might never see one again.

But today, I really, truly, from the bottom of my heart wanted Casey Affleck to win that award and he did. And I’m happy about it.

Now, please, tell me – Why do you care?

Why does my choice of actor in a leading role offend you so much? Why does this become an example of who I am as a person? What about this entire ordeal tells you I support sexual harassment?

Why do you think you could question me about it?

Because here’s what you want to tell people who bring their person beliefs and try to thrust it upon you. Here’s what people who hear how offended you are about something that wasn’t sent directly to you want you to know.

Here’s what you told your parent as you dragged them by the hand from an awkward situation:

It’s none of your business.

“Is it me?”

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I was at the tailor yesterday. He had to take measurements and yet again, his hands were where it shouldn’t be. They always were but with my mother not around, it was more obvious now. I walked out wondering why he felt like he could. Maybe I should’ve panicked. I should’ve screamed and said “What are you doing?” But I was silent. I had told myself it’s part of life as a woman. Maybe I look like someone he could take advantage of. Maybe it’s not his fault that he feels entitled. Maybe it’s.. me. Is it me?

I told my mother later that day, “If this man was bad at his job, he’d be in jail for molestation already.” She shrugged and told me it’s who he is. She asked me why I couldn’t find another tailor. That sounded like a normal question to which I responded that not everyone can stitch well for fat people with slender shoulders. This one does. So I have no choice. Maybe if my body was different, I could avoid this. Or maybe it’s because I’m fat and my boobs are too, he feels the need to. Is it me?

But this wasn’t the only man. If I had to list down  similar experiences, I could go on forever. Like the guy in the flower market who casually pressed himself to my back and I blamed myself for shopping when it’s crowded. The old man at a temple who casually touched my butt and I cursed myself for not knowing it’s a mistake and thinking bad of an aged person. The married man on my right running his hands along my legs when his wife is sitting to my left and I knew I shouldn’t have worn those shorts on a Saturday night. Oh! How could I forget the stinking man who pressed my boob flat while he walked past me making me shiver with disgust for days and I shouldn’t have worn that damned kurti when I knew it was a little tight. If so many felt so comfortable over a decade, it couldn’t have always been them. It is me, isn’t it?

But then I remembered the man who asked me to kiss him when he thought he’d gotten me alone.. at 12 years old! I wore a middle school uniform and ran for my life. That wasn’t me. I didn’t know men could behave like that. I didn’t have big boobs, I didn’t wear tight clothes and it wasn’t an accident.

I suddenly realised I was wrong. When I answered my mother’s question, I was wrong. I was focusing on the wrong part of what she’d said. When she’d asked me why I still went to this man when I knew he was like that, I shouldn’t have given her a reason. I should have asked her why he was forgiven.

Why have we accepted the fact that he is who he is and come to terms with it? Why are our questions always turned towards ourselves and not the other person?

Why did you wear that dress? Why did you go out that night? Why did you smile at him? Why didn’t you ask for help? Why didn’t you scream at him? Why did you?

Why did I what?

Wear a dress I’d loved and bought with money I worked hard for? Go out of my house to unwind after a day of chaos with friends who just wanted a laugh and a fun night out? Smile at a stranger who was older than my father out of courtesy because I was taught to be kind and never harsh? Scream at a man that was invading my private space in a very disturbing manner knowing he could kill me and my Government will tell you its my fault?

Why did you?

Why did you raise a son who thought he could have it all? Why did you tell him he can abuse me and walk away because it’s his birthright to be an asshole? Why did you shame the girl who talked about it instead of applauding her for being brave enough to relive that experience over and over again with every word she spoke? Why did you bring a nation’s culture and values into behaviour that should be punishable?

It’s not me. It’s you.

You are the reason I had to walk away silent. You are the reason his wandering hands and his filthy mind are forgiven. You are the reason I feel unsure writing about my experience.

Because what if they read? All those men who have grazed and touched like I belong to them just because I’m walking past. They’ve made me used and worthless. What if the man I will someday marry read this? Because YOU have taught and preached to him that a woman is only good if she is pure and untouched. But then you went and told him he could. Now what about me?

You don’t have to answer to me. I’m nobody to you. But your daughter, your wife, your best friend, your future family will need to know why you, in your need to make your son feel important and manly, have tarnished her safety and way of life. Will you tell her it’s her fault? Will you tell her she should’ve known better?

When she asks you, “Is it me?”

Will you still say “Yes?” Or hang your head in shame?

Because we both know, it’s not her.

It’s not me.

It’s You.

When I Gave Up.. It Rained Glitter!

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Can you believe I have six versions of this blog post? Because there are just no words to describe my 2016 to you. It’s been a year of throwing my hands in the air with both frustration and excitement.

I started this year with something that was emotionally important to me.

After two and half years of waiting for my love to be reciprocated, the beginning of this year saw me finally let go. It is a feeling of freedom from the emotional clutch love tends to have on you. I told myself enough is enough. I give up on dating and the idea of perfect men.

I began focusing more on what I was doing. This life that had been forced upon me didn’t seem so bad anymore. I made friends I cared about. I met people who seemed out of my world. I identified ways that would make me better at work. I still wished I could have had the life I’d wanted. But I no longer felt like a failure.  So I gave up hope.

My new work and my plan B didn’t give me enough mental energy to blog though. My writing style began to change. I neither had the time nor the ability to write. I considered pulling down my blog. I thought it’s time to give up writing.

The idea only grew stronger with every draft I couldn’t finish, with every thought I couldn’t put into words. I remember that night. I was sitting by the window, staring at my computer. I didn’t want to hit Publish. The article was so cheesy, so romantic and so girly. It seemed like the worst thing I had ever written. Maybe I need to edit it a little, I thought to myself. Maybe I should just delete this article and this blog and admit I can no longer write! After an hour of arguing with myself, I finally published “To The Girl In Her Mid-20’s.”

You know what they say about taking chances? Letting that article stay was the best chance I ever took because “It went viral” is an understatement of what happened to me that week. It wasn’t the platforms that shared it, it wasn’t the BuzzFeed feature. It was that email. The one that gave me goosebumps because I had done this to someone’s life. This…

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That blog wasn’t representative of what I normally write. But it reminded me why I do. The emails, messages, comments and love that poured in were each a reminder of why I started this blog. And I know for a fact that I’ll never forget again.

It was almost the happiest week of my life. Almost.

I was at work, just another day of life, when my phone rang. I knew what was coming. But sometimes, it’s better to not let your heart believe until it happens. And so the moment it came, I broke. With joy I’d never known before. One that made me run to the closest room and sob like a child. Because, so many people in this world continue to live life without one shot at chasing their dreams and I’d just gotten my second.

The moment my dad said, “It’s done. You’re going back.”

I could live to be 100 and never forget how grateful I’d felt in that moment. Grateful for the opportunity. Grateful for another chance. Grateful for a father that never gave up. Because I did. And if he had too, I wouldn’t have the ability to now tell you – After having to quit university half way, struggling through depression, battling suicidal thoughts, watching everyone I’d grown up with graduate, trying to be okay when my sister got closer to her degree – I AM BACK AT UNIVERSITY, FINISHING WHAT I BEGAN.

I am crying when I write this because nothing I ever say will do justice to the feeling that rises within me when I think about it. And I’ll say it a thousand times over – It wouldn’t have been possible without my father. And if we didn’t live in a very dysfunctional family, I’d probably hug him ‘thank you’ everyday of my life.

My classmates, unlike my last ones during degree year, are not rude. They are very nice people. We have fun. We all like cute cat pictures. And besides when criticising my apparently unreadable handwriting (jokes), there is never a dull moment.  But going back and absorbing so much information after a long break is quite difficult. I’m no longer a straight A student. But that’s okay. I know I’ll get there.

The most difficult part of it all was having to be all alone. I’ve lived with my family these past three years and loneliness was suddenly all around me.

I wouldn’t move back, I wouldn’t give up what I’d just gotten. But if something could make it just a little better..

I turned to a friend I’d never gotten to really know for comfort. We grew closer and everyone else began to see in us what we hadn’t quite acknowledged and when we did, it was like nothing I’d known before.

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It wasn’t butterflies, it was calm. When everything around me was in complete chaos, I felt relaxed. Waking up feeling like I’m somehow more important and special than I was yesterday. Finding the ability to be myself with no walls, no fears and no insecurities. Because irrelevant of what the world might think, somebody liked the crazy that was me.

And I told myself, “It’s a crush. It’s silly. You’ll get over it.” But then he texted words I’d longed to hear all my life for reasons so personal it makes me cry. “No matter what, I’ll never leave you to face anything alone. I’m here.”

They say you don’t always know the moment you begin to love someone. But I do. It was the moment I read those words and tears dribbled down my face. No, I don’t know if this is it. I don’t know if we’ll be married with kids in ten years. We want different things and hold different dreams. But today, with him, I’m happier than I’ve ever been with someone that wasn’t my family.

And to think, I’d given up on everything that had come back to me, better and happier.

I’ve gotten to know who I am this past year. I’ve had the ability to choose and I’ve made choices that were both logical and also, at times, emotional. Some of the choices were right and some weren’t quite. And I know the consequences of it all will come back to me next year. When every choice I make will define everything my future will be. Work, location, love. But I feel good about it. Because I’m waking up on the 1st day of 2017, exactly as who I am. No hiding, no pretending. Just me. With a smile on my face.

And I’m hoping it’s on yours too…

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From The One Who Lost Control

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I sat there. On the corner of my bed. Clutching my computer. Trying to find something, anything to distract myself from what I knew was happening to me. I went from E! to YouTube, Superwoman to Brad Pitt’s FBI case – if only I could find one thing that takes my mind away from this spiral I knew was around the corner.

But it was too late.

It was too late when I was on that bus, trying to text my boyfriend – my source of happiness. It was too late when I pretended to mull over what bread I want at FairPrice. It was too late when I made dinner like I was completely okay. It was just too late.

And so it happened. One tear drop at a time. A slow shiver that took over my hands and legs. I suddenly couldn’t breathe anymore. My desperation to hold onto anything that was sanity, slowly slipping away from my fingers. The lump in my throat, now a sob. I held onto my hair, willing myself to stop. Begging my emotions to take control of themselves. The pain spread from the back of my head to my chest. I knew I was too far gone to control anymore.

An hour later, I was starving. But I wouldn’t get up. If I get up, everything will fall apart. If I move from here, something will go wrong. I won’t. I can’t. I can’t. I CAN’T!

A fear that wrapped its arms so tightly around me, I felt bound to my bed, unable to move. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t stop sobbing. It wouldn’t stop hurting.

The kind soul that chose me had to calm down an absolute mess of an adult who didn’t know how to stop being afraid of absolutely nothing.

So we talked about my day. “I made coffee. I showered. I went to study group.” One sentence after the other, I stuttered myself better just long enough to go get food.

But then at the kitchen, his call dropped. And so did I. To my knees with fear and tears until it was connected again because, “I’m terrified.”

A part of me so ashamed that this is what my life had come to. That I had to showcase my biggest vulnerability over a video call. That I needed someone else to help me. It didn’t help the tears. It didn’t help my racing heart.

Leave me. Find someone who isn’t on the kitchen floor when you don’t speak for ten seconds. Go away. But don’t. Because I don’t want you, I need you. I need help. Help me. But go be happy. I’m a mess. Go. Just.. don’t go. 

This doesn’t paint a very pretty picture, does it?

But this is what an anxiety attack is.

24 hours later, I’m still feeling shaky. I’m still struggling to not lose control to it. But it will happen. And I will yet again feel like my world is crushing me as it falls apart when everything is as it was fifteen minutes ago.

I’m lucky, though. I have someone to help me.

Not everyone does. So listen carefully. If your friend / family mentions anxiety, listen carefully. It’s not Want you hear.

It’s a desperate Need.

 

 

 

 

Her First

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It’s been about ten months since I first saw her. Right after the floods, my father brought her into our lives. That tiny face that brings joy to me and makes my first question my love for him.

I woke up this morning to a post on Facebook. Kerala offers gold coins to the civic authorities that kill the maximum number of stray dogs. I had a moment of “WHAT?!”

I wasn’t as furious as I was confused. They claimed the reason was because the street dogs are biting too many people. I recalled a moment a stray dog would refuse to come near me. She was afraid. Someone from my world had hurt her before. But I waited. I fed her everyday. Now all I have to do is whistle, and she’ll come running to me, tail wagging, face happy. I imagined a world where if I’d just killed her instead of feeding her and adoring her with patience. It wasn’t one I could process because even if she hadn’t come around, I couldn’t ever do that to another living being.

That’s the key word. LIVING being. She’s not an old broken radio. She’s not a plastic bottle that’s no use anymore. She’s not rotten food you can’t eat for sure. She’s a LIVING being. Like you. Like me. When you’re hurt and upset, you yell at people, don’t you? If you say No, it’s a lie and we both know it. Tell me, should I kill you for shouting at me? “Because that’s just hurtful”?

Remember those fathers that get angry and spank their children once or more? Should we kill them?

When you do something annoying and your girlfriend playfully slaps you on your arm only to realise she’s stronger than she thinks she is? Should we kill her?

If hurting someone leads to our death, why can’t we kill everyone?

Oh I get it. It spreads rabies and diseases! Like your mother who developed fever and walked around the house knowing it might spread to you and the rest of the family. Sounds mean and rude, I know. But that’s how ridiculous it all sounds.

If each person adopts one stray dog, we wouldn’t have to kill them. Not just because there’d be none left but because maybe you’ll realise how no human being (Not even your own parent or child) can love you like that furry little thing can.

I came home for Diwali. I was forced on the floor and showered with love by my two babies. I’d been wondering if that ticket was worth it. Those five minutes ensured it was.

I read an article about two girls who nailed a dog to the wall and posted pictures about it on social media. Is this an achievement? “I KILLED SOMEONE” is not a thing of pride. It is a disgrace. It is offensive. It is shameful to the human race.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or needs help as much as you do.

I looked at her today. She doesn’t know it’s her first birthday. She was curled up with wide eyes staring at me. I couldn’t imagine someone hurting her. I couldn’t imagine someone willingly putting her through pain.

I would be on my bed 8,000 miles away and feel a movement. I’d have to remind myself it’s not them. It’s wind. And I’d wipe away a tear. My friends would tease me when I tell them how much I miss my dogs. They’d laugh about how I didn’t mention family members. But that’s the truth. That’s what unfiltered, undying love does to you. The kind you only receive from these four-legged, puppy eyed babies.

#StopAnd if you have the heart to hurt them knowing they’re in pain and hearing them cry..

I suggest not just checking into a mental asylum, but also request being chained because you’ve reached a new level of emotional and mental instability and may cause hurt to anyone at any moment based on whim without rationality.

Because animal cruelty is not a joke. It is not a show of courage. It is not a trend. It is not fashionable.

If you ever find yourself wanting to hurt an animal, find your local mental health specialist and get help!

#StopMurderingLivingBeings

Anger’s Comfort Zone

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I was on a long and emotional call with a friend who’d recently been verbally abused by his sibling in a moment of anger. We talked about the possible reasons and how they usually behave within and outside of family. All our observations led me to one big question – Are we willingly more rude to a family member than we are to a friend or a stranger?

I have always tolerated irritating behavior from a stranger and I always told myself it is due to the fear of appearing harsh or wanting to avoid a public scene. But what I never noticed – I am perfectly capable of creating a scene and saying harsh things to a family member at that same place, for the same reason. But why?

I turned to my facebook page to see what others believe is the reason and they came up with interesting reasons:

  • “Because we don’t feel the need to please our family.”
  • “We’re comfortable with our loved ones and it’s okay for our emotions to show.”
  • “Your family will not judge you for your anger.”

And finally, the answer that really made me think – “We know what our family members’ limits are and how they’ll react, wherein a stranger’s reaction to your rudeness might be more aggressive than you would expect.”

Does knowing one’s limits make it right to mistreat them?

Just because someone isn’t saying “Stop” does not mean it isn’t hurting them. And honestly, at times, we can cross the limit and not know it at all. What then?

Someone said, “But after the fight, I apologized. So it’s totally fine.” Is it?

“An apology means nothing if you don’t stop doing what you’re apologizing for.”

An apology does not take away how you made someone feel at that moment. It doesn’t take away the potential damage you could cause to a relationship. An apology, to a person who was emotionally pained with words, is only a temporary bandage. The scar will always remain.

I’m 24. I remember the hurtful words my mother said to me when I was 9. She apologized. I forgave her. But I can’t forget. Not even if I tried. Because people forget the good things you do. But the knives you struck in their hearts in the form of words, it sticks with them forever.

Anger you see on the news always begins from a place of comfort. When you think one person takes it, it grows.

So stop. Evaluate a situation before throwing a tantrum or screaming at your loved ones. Always put yourself in their shoes.

Just because they’re family doesn’t mean they don’t have emotions. Just because they’re not arguing does not mean they’re not hurting.

Watch your language. Breathe to 10 before you speak. Sure, we’ll all have our moments. But ask yourself, “Is this situation worth a lifetime of negative memories?”

It’s not good karma to help a stranger you see on the bus after you’ve yelled at someone at home. It’s only your day that gets better when you say, “Sorry.” Their day is ruined for good.

Remember – It’s not blood that binds a human to another. It’s the way you treat each other.

Be kind.

Especially to the ones who’ll forgive you when you’re not.