8th January, 2013

The nights are foggy and cold. But Asaram Bapu (or whatever he makes his motley of brain-dead followers call him) made sure that many fumed with anger last night. His opinions aren’t even worth of being spat on; but there are hordes of people who drink every word of his as the elixir of enlightment, and who will implement these absurd beliefs and suggestions in their own homes. That’s what worries me. Girls would be asked to fall at the feet of their brothers and call for mercy, to spare their honour (which we are told resides in a thin membrane; one’s thoughts, deeds and the way one leads their life hardly matters, it’s all about that membrane!). They would be asked to recite a prayer when a brother-in-faith cum closet rapist leers and hovers over her. He might drop dead or miraculously recognize the sister in the woman he wanted to rape. Who knows? In the world of all-knowing godmen, the women who get raped had obviously forgotten to invoke a few Gods in her daily prayer, or crossed the threshold of her home with the left foot first, walked under a ladder, wore black, forgot to fast, or worse were atheists who jiggled cleavage, ate spicy chowmein (this was suggested by the Khap not long ago as the cause of untamed libido!), roamed the streets after dark, and basically did everything to deserve being raped! Last night I watched in dismay that woman trying to defend Asaram’s comments the News Hour debate. How can one expect a safe world for women when there exists such members of their own gender who follow the derogatory discourse of self-styled, rogue godmen as the absolute truth?
The nights are still foggy and cold. I am buried under three layers of woolens. I drink umpteen cups of chai. I have upped the capsaicin intake. I don’t want to leave the gym, and its central heating. I asked a (married) friend in Delhi how she had been surviving the nights, when the mercury drops to record lows. Her answer embarrasses me and I shut up. Every morning I feel distressed to read the news of people dying in the cold wave in North India. Lives lost just because of the lack of access to a warm blanket! I had asked another friend, who has the authority of being a part of the government, if/ and how he tackles these sad loss of lives in his district. He replied that they had arranged for large fires being lit at public places and had even distributed a few thousand blankets to the people who don’t have access to the bare necessities of life. It made me feel so proud of him; not just because I heard of these measures being taken to combat the problem, but because I have complete faith in their implementation. We, as citizens, too can aid such efforts by donating woolen clothes and blankets to clothing drives and NGOs. We often wonder whether such small steps would ever make a real difference. It would, at least to a few lives; and continuous and collective efforts will make a much greater impact.
I’m on a rough patch emotionally; on the verge of losing a loved one forever; learnt embarrassingly late that the one I had (stupidly) pined for so long, is in love with someone else; books don’t interest me enough, nor does writing; uncertainties about my future haunt me; my simple dreams clash with the ambitious expectations of others. Stubborn hopes cling to me even when I’m fully aware of their absurdity. I write when I feel like. I connect with only the people who matter. Early mornings and a good part of the day are spent in studying for an exam in February. Today I listened to ‘Always on My Mind’ in a loop. In the evening I read a few pages of Boredom by Alberto Moravia. I am trying to learn the importance of letting things follow its own course. Sometimes expectations weigh things down. Nonchalance makes every little development a pleasant surprise. I’m learning about life.

Subdued Chaos

The week has been a subdued emotional chaos, halting at unlikely spots, sometimes a little too long, sometimes defying reason.

I read about the hotel manager who had lost his wife and children in the 26/11 incident; he had re-married and has a two year old child now. I tried to imagine what he must have felt holding his newborn, the morbid deja vu of life coming a full circle, the trying attempts to build a new life around the debris of an irreplaceable loss, battling flashbacks of holding other tiny hands or the pain of losing the woman he had committed to love for life. I mourned the fragility of life. Why do we ignore it? Why don’t we love with abandon? Why don’t we do what we really want to do? Why do we hold back? What do we really treasure? I am still trying to figure out the answers.

After his retirement my father works from home now, and I spend half an hour every day typing and mailing his daily work report because he is stubborn about not using the vile computer. Sometimes I find it tedious, and ask him what he would do when I’m not there. He asks cheekily was I planning to go somewhere in the near future, and I blush at the implied notion of matrimony. We grumble every evening, but when I see him jot down his reports on the black notebook that he carries everywhere, and know that in few minutes he would stand awkwardly beside my bed, clearing his throat and trying to gain my attention, I can’t help but smile. I like being useful to him in these little ways, and it brings a quiet satisfaction.

I don’t have a home there, but my heart lies in the hills. I want my voice to echo through pine trees, walk all day on narrow winding lanes, have clouds within reach, wiggle my toes over a log fire, drink umpteen cups of chai, let a wild wind beat against my face and redden the tip of my nose, wake up to the rain on a cold morning, snuggle under a cozy blanket, read late into the night, stargaze, watch the sun rise through a cleft in the distant mountains like the drawings of my childhood, lose myself, and find myself again, rejuvenated. I’ll be there in a fortnight and want to cram all these into a weekend. The anticipation is palpable!

I dared to dream an impossible dream and let it peep out into the sunshine of hope from the dark recesses of my heart. But then reason overshadowed it, sending it back to its dark depths and locking it for better measure. Now it beats wildly at odd hours, but I won’t let out my dream again, I already feel foolish that I had done so earlier. I don’t want it battered and bruised by a heart it can never touch. Why bother? I ignore it now.

These subdued grief, happiness, excitement, satisfaction, yearning is interpersed with nervousness about an upcoming exam. A quiet week at home doesn’t guarantee steady emotions!