We Don’t Know At What We Should Laugh

We Don’t Know At What We Should Laugh

I won’t beat around the bush with this blog. What I am writing about now should have stopped beating around the bush a long time ago. Many people have spoken and written about this before me, but they all have been made fun of by calling them feminists. Sadly, being a feminist is not something to be laughed about unless that person has got it totally wrong. Some of you reading this blog will laugh at me. It is okay though it shouldn’t be. What I am writing here is for everybody but very few will understand it. Of those few who will understand, there will be those who ignore it.

Today, there were many posts shared of Facebook related to something Lemon Tree did. For those who don’t know, Lemon Tree is a hotel in Bengaluru. The posts they shared were about a joke pasted on the wall of this hotel. Here it is. This picture is taken from a related post.

Lemon Tree Joke

Lemon Tree Joke

Image source: The Ladies Finger

The posts were about how the joke is sexist and promotes rape culture, and the cool brigade asked the media to take a chill-pill. If you read the joke and laughed at it, then please don’t read further because you will be one of those who will not understand what I write here. If you insist on reading, then you will be offended.

If you laughed at this joke in the picture, then you failed to understand the dark and insensitive place from where it arises. What the man does at the end of the joke symbolises domestic violence and marital rape. That is exactly what the other posts have been talking about in case you still haven’t understood. Hoping that you are reading my blog right now to genuinely understand what this is all about, I shall try to break it down for you. Let’s start with how we are dealing with domestic violence and marital rape in India. We had Ghanti Bajao campaign to stop domestic violence. Ring the doorbell and stop domestic violence. That was the essence of it. Yay! Why not ring the doorbell to the brains of abusive men? And about marital rape? There are people asking what it is. Why do people ask such questions? Because once married, women are properties of men and they can be used as men want, mainly for housekeeping and sexual gratification. I agree there is a creed of men who have evolved beyond this for the betterment of our society, but there are also men who can’t register in their testosterone doped brains that women are not “properties.” Asking what marital rape is like congratulating a rape survivor on losing her virginity if she had not lost it already.

You might argue this content generating media company is of low grade and so are its followers. But aren’t these followers living amongst us. You might argue that I don’t have a sense of humour, but I ask you what do you laugh at? When you laugh at something it is because you take it lightly. This joke at which you laughed is what you have taken lightly and gradually becomes acceptable because nobody frowns at it and it should not cause any problem. Of course you don’t care where it comes from. You think no husband will literally throw his wife to a gorilla, but there are chances that he might beat her up instead because she excused herself from sex citing headache. In Hindi, this is called Khade Laude Pe Dhoka. If you need translation, it means cheating over a hard-on. Of course, when men objectify women for sexual satisfaction, her illness becomes an excuse she is using to avoid having sex with the man. If you think she is avoiding having sex with you, then think why? It isn’t like women don’t have libido. Women just want sex to be good. So, she might be avoiding sex with you because she doesn’t want to hurt the ego of a male chauvinist pig by saying you are not good at it. She might even have an affair to satisfy herself and she doesn’t want to rot the endorphins liberated by rolling over the bed with you. Then why don’t you just divorce her and get a sex doll from China (oh no, I am not talking about the Chinese girls who look like dolls) and satisfy yourself if sex is all you need from a marriage? That doll won’t say no. See, that’s where it comes from. This joke came from a man, a husband, who couldn’t take a no from his wife, a woman. When a man cannot take a no from a woman, he feels his manhood is at stake or is questioned because a woman, who is supposed to be his subordinate, rejected his advances and he tries to bring her down by violating her or insulting her. It is another discussion, as written in my previous blog, that there is no “authentic” reason to rape a female.

If this is too much about husbands, then let me tell you about a boyfriend I had. It was back in the year 2010 when I was in Chennai on training. I was waiting to return to Bengaluru. I was returning to my PG (not parental guidance, but paying guest) accommodation. It wasn’t very late at night and was around 8:30pm, a presumably acceptable time for girls to return to their nests and be good girls. It was through a residential area that I had to walk. This area is in the vicinity of Thoraipakkam, one of the posh areas in Chennai, located on the East Coast Road (ECR) that takes you to Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry. In that residential area, under a street light, in front of a house stood a man wearing helmet next to his motorbike. I was at a point where if I took a left I would run into him and if I took a right I would walk half a kilometre more to my place. I took a right turn. This man said “Excuse me” and I turned around. He pulled out his penis and asked “Do you want this?” I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. If I had screamed, this man would have escaped on his motorbike before any Samaritan turned up. If I had tried to get hold of him, I don’t know what he would have done when I neared him. I said “No, thank you” and walked away. That wasn’t the worse thing. The worse thing was in the morning when I told my then boyfriend, and now thankfully an ex, about what happened. He laughed at it and made fun of me by asking me to enact how that helmet man waved his penis at me. Yes, he made it a laughing stock. But there was also our common friend who understood the seriousness of the situation and told he would drop me to my place in the evening just to avoid such encounters again. Yes, there are good men too and I haven’t been generalising all this while in case you haven’t read properly since the beginning. So, yes, men don’t know what to laugh at when it comes to women.

People who commented on the posts regarding Lemon Tree today, including women, are a part of a herd that wants to laugh at everything and make it sound cool, make themselves sound cool. Or is it kewl? Laughing at something only brings down the seriousness of it. But there are also people who understood what is wrong with that “joke.” There are jokes and there are matters that are passed as jokes. Know the difference. Know what can be a laughing stock. I know there will be comments on my blog too saying how morose a creature I am, but then such comments will only prove my point.

Image source: The Conversation

The Reasons They Give

The Reasons They Give…

It was a hectic day except I could squeeze in time to edit a short story at work. A supervisor called to inform that he would be coming in late. I didn’t ask him for a reason. He came in post lunch. When I had to sign on a few invoices that he gave me, I asked him why he didn’t turn up at work in the morning. He narrated the whole drama.

“We have two tenant families. Both started living on rent almost at the same time, about three years ago. There was no problem between both the families. They both were friendly with each other and my family. They even paid us rent on time. We had no qualms with them and never asked them to pay more rent as they have been neatly maintaining their rented houses. Today morning, when I was midway to work, I got a call from one of the tenants asking me to come back home immediately. When I reached his home, I saw my wife, his wife, the other tenant and my neighbours already grouped in front of my home. I asked the tenant who called me what happened, but his wife told me the whole story. It so happened that when her husband and children went out of their home today morning, the other tenant knocked at their door after an hour. She was cooking at that time. Through the window she saw the familiar face and opened the door. The other tenant immediately rushed into their home, closed the door and tried to hug and kiss her. She thrashed him with the ladle in her hand and screamed for help. My wife and neighbours ran to her aid. After they dragged the other tenant out, she called her husband and told him what happened. When I asked him why he did such a hideous act after peacefully living next door for three years, the other tenant, now a criminal, asked me to follow him into his bedroom. There he showed me a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) and told me that he tried to molest the next door lady because the UPS was sucking all the electricity from his body. Her kitchen is on the other side of the wall of this molester’s bedroom. I was baffled. I know you are also dumbstruck, but this is what he told me. The UPS in his room was to blame. I had two questions on my mind. One was about his sanity and other was how to console the other tenant family. I answered the second question first and asked the molester to vacate the house immediately. About the first question, I don’t care about it as long as he isn’t on my property. I left the business of lodging a police complaint to the lady and her husband. I have to go back home and check what has happened. So far, my wife hasn’t called up and that means all must be okay at home.”

I had finished signing on all the invoices he had handed over to me. He laughed at himself and his day, and went back to his cubicle. I was left wondering what more reasons can one come up to molest a woman.

Image courtesy: WorldArtsMe

Literal and Musical

Literal and Musical

I don’t believe in the Monday morning blues, but BMTC buses don’t give me a chance to have faith in their timings. All the buses of the same route go one after another and none will be found for a long time. This foolhardy public transportation disrupts the schedule of people like me who have to get into another bus later to complete the one side commute. This happens especially on Monday mornings. This is irksome. Due to this, I miss the other bus I have to board at another point. Today morning, I managed to get the first bus on-time and even a seat in the second bus. As soon as sat, I voluntarily showed my bus-pass to the BMTC conductor so that he doesn’t pester me later, plugged in my earphones, started the playlist and opened the book I have been reading. It is 1984 by George Orwell.

O’Brien had turned himself a little in his chair so that he was facing Winston. He almost ignored Julia, seeming to take it for granted that Winston could speak for her. For a moment the lids flitted down over his eyes. He began asking his questions in a low, expressionless voice, as though this were a routine, a sort of catechism, most of whose answers were known to him already.
“You are prepared to give your lives?”
“Yes.”
“You are prepared to commit murder?”
“Yes.”
“To commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of innocent people?”
“Yes.”
“To betray your country to foreign powers?”
“Yes.”
“You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to corrupt the minds of children, to distribute habit-forming drugs, to encourage prostitution, to disseminate venereal diseases – to do anything which is likely to cause demoralisation and weaken the power of the Party?”
“Yes.”
“If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to throw sulphuric acid in a child’s face – are you prepared to do that?”
“Yes.”
You are prepared to lose your identity and live out the rest of your lives as a waiter or a dock worker?”
“Yes.”
‘You are prepared to commit suicide, if and when we order you to do so?”
“Yes.”
“You are prepared, the two of you, to separate and never see one another again?”
“No!” broke in Julia.
It appeared to Winston that a long time passed before he answered. For a moment he seemed even to have been deprived of the power of speech. His tongue worked soundlessly, forming the opening syllables first of one word, then of the other, over and over again. Until he had said it, he did not know which word he was going to say. “No,” he said finally.

If you have read 1984 by George Orwell, have the least amount of imagination required while reading a book, have ever been in love or just have enough capability to empathise, then you will get the emotions in the excerpt given above. Just as Winston too said no, my music player churned out Down by Jason Walker. Music and words, whether in the form of lyrics or narration, make a good combination. This song doesn’t suit the situation, but it felt just right for them. I imagined Winston and Julia sing the song to each other completely ignorant of O’Brien’s presence in the same room. Though they are not of this era, they sang like they could relate to it. But thankfully they didn’t run around the trees or dance hand in hand. I was in a trance with the coincidence of the scene in the book and song on my playlist. The bus stopped. Winston flung the table at which they were sitting. Julia was in his arms the next moment. I don’t know what happens next as I am still reading 1984. Bookmark placed between the pages, I got down from the bus. The song ended. I have absolutely no idea why O’Brien sat through the show in my imagination.

Wallet

Wallet

“Watch?”
“Check.”
“Handkerchief?”
“Check.”
“Car keys?”
“Check.”
“Mobile phone?”
“Wallet?”
“Check.”
This is my mother’s checklist and my father’s response every time he steps out of the house. Though my logic says she can ask only for the wallet and he can buy rest of the things using the money in his wallet, she repeats her list. Of course, he cannot buy a car every time he feels like driving one when leaves his at home. It’s good to watch them go about this daily ritual. Sometimes my father doesn’t even say “check.” He simply grunts and my mother still goes on. It is not like my father will forget any of those things if my mother doesn’t remind him. It is just the display of concoction brewed with love, care, and intimacy that sometimes appears to be cute.

My mother sometimes forgets reminding one or two of the list, but never the wallet. Theirs being the earlier generation that wasn’t dependent on the mobile phone, it was never a priority but has slowly crept in. The wallet is always reminded because it has money. Money can allow you to make calls from the nearby PCO telephone, which became extinct and my mother ignores that fact. Money can get you from one place to other thanks to public transport and my mother loves them. To my parents, the wallet is a something that can hold money from which we can pull out a few bank notes or clink few coins to pay for anything. This leaves me wondering what would happen to this intimacy when we replace our wallets with apps like Paytm. This app and likes of it are closing in on all possible kinds of services for which money can pay. I recently saw a grocery store that accepts payment through Paytm. Such apps make it easy to carry out transactions without withdrawing cash and fewer chances of a pickpocket. But the lack of physical touch gives a sense of insecurity. The apps cannot replace the different colours of bank notes, the cold mint coins, the leather or a cloth and the worn-out folds and corners of the wallets, even if they assure the safety of our money.

Technology though is trying to help bring people closer, is driving them far from each other. People talk to each other for hours together at their convenience from the comforts of their homes, but don’t know how to even say hi when they meet. I never knew meeting in person had such allergic reactions. If the advent of apps had happened long back, I guess my mother would have asked my father “Installed all necessary apps?” instead of her list. This way, it would have been more than enough if he carried a mobile phone loaded with a variety of apps and she doesn’t have to worry as they won’t uninstall themselves. The intimacy of the wallet which my father used to buy ice creams for my mother on their trip to Manali three decades ago that they still reminisce, would have never happened. She would have even helped my grandfather book a priest for the wedding through an app. The wallet would have become a Dodo.

Image source: The Brooks Review

Image source: www.complianceandethics.org

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Every morning, whether I go to work or not, I look at myself in the mirror. I make sure nobody makes fun of me unless ink, dung or something else smears across my face. I tell myself to have a good day. That is the small talk I have with myself. For the rest of the day, I slog, churn stories out of thin air by twirling my fingers and daydream to slay mean bosses. Sometimes I converse instead of small talk when I look into the mirror. But looking at myself for too long brings out the memories buried deep in my mind. They are responsible for the dark circles under my eyes. I am healthy, but need to get more rest and sleep.

Psychology says our dreams include things registered in our subconscious mind. That explains why I can’t sleep unperturbed. I stopped trying to make sense of my nightmares long ago. What am I to think of the fly buzz towards me out of nowhere and sting me on my left upper arm? I might just brush it away thinking I saw a close-up of a fly or a mosquito that day. But what about the bugs that ooze out of the swell gifted by the fly? I never knew bugs replaced my blood. In the mirror, I stare at the spot where the fly bit me in my nightmare. There is nothing now. But I remember what my subconscious mind showed me. No, I am not losing my mind. I don’t know how to interpret my dreams. It may mean I am still unable to forget The Mummy movie, especially Brendan Fraser on whom I had a major crush. Never mind Rachael Weisz. Or the nightmare means I will die, irrespective of what I do with my mind and my body. Bugs eat my body inside out and my mind abandons my body when of no use. For what joy should I worry beyond the threshold level? Dark circles appearing under my eyes are the signs of the threshold level.

Such conversations with self through the mirror are rhetorical. I turn away from the mirror but my mind shows me what I see. I can’t turn away from my mirror.

Image source: The Compliance and Ethics Blog

Just before reaching my destination

Funny Story of a Directionally Challenged Non-Quitter

I always wanted to buy a bicycle. Watching people who go cycling to far away places with a smile on their faces, I too wanted to do the same. Recently when I took someone to show an outsourced unit located at an interior part of rural North Bangalore, I found the route to be very picturesque. The desire to buy a bicycle was enhanced and I indeed bought one. Today, I happened to visit that outsourced unit again and decided to take my bicycle to show the same route which made me buy it.

I will be telling you less about the route and showing you more of it through pictures this time, unlike my other blogs where I show you more of my imagination through words. To start with, I shall share my playlist that I listened to while riding Vidyaranyapura to Kanaswadi in the morning today for 31km so that you can get an idea of how much time I took to reach my destination. I am one of those people who measures time in terms of songs. I don’t shuffle, mind you.

“Haminastu” from the movie Fitoor
“Hawaa Hawaa” from the movie Rockstar
“Heart Attach” by Demi Lovato
“Help I’m Alive” by Metric
“Here We Go” by Mat Kearney
“Here’s to Never Growing Up” by Avril Lavigne
“Hey Porsche” by Nelly
“Hey, Soul Sister” by Train
“The Hollow (Acoustic)” by A Perfect Circle
“Honedo Batiya” from the movie Fitoor
“Hot n Cold” by Katy Perry
“I Cry” by Flo Rida
“I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift
“I’m An Animal” by Neko Case
“Ibn-e-Batuta” from the movie Ishqiya
“Ilahi” from the movie Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
“Imagine” by A Perfect Circle (This is a different version John Lennon’s Imagine, as a tribute to him)
“In Between” by Linkin Park
“In Pieces” by Linkin Park
“In the End” by Linkin Park
“Irreplacable” by Beyonce
“Irresistible” by One Direction
“Ishaqzaade” from the movie Ishaqzaade
“Ishq Bina” from the movie Taal
“Ishq Shava” from the movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan
“It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy
“It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars
“It’s a Beautiful Day” by Michael Buble
“Jab Mila Tu” from the movie I Hate Luv Storys
“Jannatein Kahan (Powerball version)” from the movie Jannat 2
“Jeene Ke Ishaare” from the movie Phir Milenge
“Jhak Maar Ke” from the movie Desi Boyz
“Jiya Lage Na” from the movie Talaash

I started from Vidyaranyapura and reached Rajanukunte entrance on Doddaballapur road. Pictures will show you the route further from there.

Rajanukunte entrance from Doddaballapur road

Rajanukunte entrance from Doddaballapur road

Rajanukunte interior

Rajanukunte interior

Empty roads

Empty roads

Do you know what to see in this picture?

Do you know what to see in this picture?

A chameleon! Now you see it!

A chameleon! Now you see it!

Cattle farm

Cattle farm

Kakolu Circle

Kakolu Circle

Wait for the view after this

Wait for the view after this

One of the few lakes that have survived in Bangalore

One of the few lakes that have survived in Bangalore

Appreciating greenery

Appreciating greenery

Just before reaching my destination

Just before reaching my destination

After completion of my work at Kanaswadi, I started homewards by 6pm.

“Jiyein Kyun” from the movie Dum Maaro Dum
“Jo Bhi Main” from the movie Rockstar
“Jugni” from the movie Cocktail
“Jump” by Rihanna
“Jump Then Fall” by Taylor Swift
“Just Give Me A Reason” by P!nk
“Kabhi Neem Neem” from the movie Yuva
“Kabira” from the movie Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
“Kahin Aag Lage” from the movie Taal
“Kamli” from the movie Dhoom 3
“Kariye Na” from the movie Taal
“Karma is a Bitch” from the movie Shor in the City
“Katiya Karun” from the movie Rockstar
“Kemosabe” by Everything Everything
“Khalifa” from the movie Lekar Hum Deewana Dil
“Khuda Hafiz” from the movie Yuva
“Kids” by MGMT
“Kiklikalerdi” from the movie Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana
“Kun Faya Kun” from the movie Rockstar
“Kya Dekh Rahe Ho Tum” from the movie Taal
“Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai” from the movie Woh Lamhe
“Lag Gayi Lottery” from the movie Fukrey
“Lat Lag Gayi” from the movie Race 2
“Laying Me Low” by David Cook
“Leave Out All the Rest” by Linkin Park
“Lego House” by Ed Sheeran
“Leja Leja” by Shreya Ghoshal and Ustad Sultan Khan

Didn’t you notice something strange? My return journey has six songs less in the list. How did that happen? You might say maybe the length of the songs vary. But it was because one of my best friends called up on my return commute. If she hadn’t called, then the count would have reached fifty. So, what’s the big deal? Well, I got lost while returning.

Thinking about an email that some obnoxious female at my workplace sent, I took a wrong turn and didn’t even notice. Instead of reaching the entrance of Rajanukunte again, I reached the entrance of Doddaballapur. From Kanaswadi to Doddaballapur entrance the distance is 17km. From Doddaballapur entrance to Vidyaranyapura the distance is 27km. Instead of Kanaswadi -> Rajanukunte -> Vidyaranyapura which was only 31km, I pedalled for 44km. I was like “Oh, crap!” when I saw Doddaballapur board. At the same time, one of my best friends called me to catch up. She had her hearty laughter before asking me to load my cycle into an auto and go home. But I refused to do so. After the call, I realised that I am definitely directionally challenged, but that has been compensated with my nature of not quitting. It was another thing that I had to cycle all the 44km without proper light on that accident-prone highway, but it was all worth it as I came back home safe.

A view from Tosh village.

Comfortably Tosh, Not

A serene and scenic village that has been discovered by the tourists in the last few years, Tosh is still not completely urbanised and you would be lucky if you could visit it before tall structures are erected. It was in May 2016 that we visited Tosh after completing Sar Pass trek. At a height of 7874ft from the sea level, Tosh is situated in Himachal Pradesh. As you move up scaling its altitude, the view of Parvati valley will begin to serenade you. From the paths that take you to the village, you can see a dam, a part of hydroelectricity project, under construction in Barshaini, a nearby village.

View of Barshaini from Tosh

View of Barshaini from Tosh

To see this, you have to look down from the Tosh village. But when you look up from there, clusters of clouds that are stuck to the Deodar trees growing at the peaks in the Himalayan range sheepishly wave at you while they try to detangle themselves and rush to hide. It won’t be a wonder if an imaginary Santoor starts playing in the background.

A view from Tosh village.

A view from Tosh village.

Heralding the commercialisation, you can find eateries and hotels with wanna-be urban look on the other side of the bridge that you have to cross to get into the village. Once you cross the bridge and the eateries, you walk straight into the village of Tosh where you cannot ignore the sudden serenity compared to the bridge-side of the village. Cut off from the noise of the rambling people and motor vehicles, you can hear the cattle moo. The multicoloured houses are constructed with wood.

Multicoloured houses made of wood

Multicoloured houses made of wood

They have a different kind of thatched roof.

Tried colour pick with blue. Anyway, the house must have been feeling blue.

Tried colour pick with blue. Anyway, the house must have been feeling blue.

Each house owns at least one cow.

Cow maatha....or to be....she looks very young.... Reminds me of Ganga in Sharath Komarraju's retelling of Mahabharata

Cow maatha….or to be….she looks very young…. Reminds me of Ganga in Sharath Komarraju’s retelling of Mahabharata

If you take the two or three deviations of the path from the bridge, you will see the whole of the village. You can choose to go on Kheerganga trek from the village or just hike in the vicinity.

Tosh is a beautiful village that has not yet been inflicted with the pain of becoming a full-fledged hippie place, but I am not writing to tell you only about how unscathed it is in terms of tourism. I am writing to tell you a funny story about how much we ate of that mouth-watering food.

This is a story of eight people who ate brunch, which by no means was light, at 11:00am in Kasol, reached Tosh and planned to eat lunch by 1:30pm. After roaming around the village, we sat near a temple and wondered what to do. To leave Tosh soon meant having too much of time in hand after reaching back Kasol and to wait till we were really hungry meant missing the last bus from Barshaini. Or we had to simply miss eating in Tosh. But that would be unpardonable! The owner of the hotel where we stayed in Kasol insisted that we eat at Hill Top Guest House and Restaurant. Not because he owned it or his friend owned it, but it supposedly served delicious food. And we went there to confirm it. Hill Top Guest House and Restaurant is actually located at almost top of the peak on which Tosh is situated. Even after strolling and hiking, our maida-laden lunch refused to get digested. That didn’t hinder us from finding this arty restaurant.

Making it very evident as soon as we entered the restaurant, a wall art showed us what will happen inside your head after smoking up. It is pretty interesting, I must say.

To know more, smoke up!

To know more, smoke up!

Ogling at the wall art, we started discussing what to order. We tried ordering as small quantity of food as possible since we were still not hungry. Irrespective of that, the food order ballooned to pretty sumptuous for sixteen not-so-hungry people, and not just eight. The waiter who came to take our orders heard us speaking in Kannada and told us that he used to work in a cafe in Hampi, another land of ruins and hippies, before coming to Himachal Pradesh. After the small talk with him, we ordered food thinking we could handle it. Brace yourselves for the insane amount of food that we ordered for lunch after brunch.

To start with, hot and sour veg soup

To start with, hot and sour veg soup

Hash brown potatoes had turned into aloo ki sabji. We ate anyway.

Hash brown potatoes had turned into aloo ki sabji. We ate anyway.

Two of this. Israeli style: Pita bread, hummus, vegetables, potato fries and falafal.

Two of this. Israeli style: Pita bread, hummus, vegetables, potato fries and falafal.

Lasagna. We did behave like Garfield.

Lasagna. We did behave like Garfield.

Chicken Lafa. It is of the length from the tip of middle finger to the elbow of an adult. Stuffed with whatever goes on top of a pizza!

Chicken Lafa. It is of the length from the tip of middle finger to the elbow of an adult. Stuffed with whatever goes on top of a pizza!

A pizza named Parvati

A pizza named Parvati

After eating, we could hardly move. So, we wobbled out of the threshold of Hill Top Guest House and Restaurant and descended to cross the bridge. We hired two cabs to reach Barshaini from where we came back to Kasol.

Tosh is situated 4km away from Barshaini. Now, if you ask me where is Barshaini, I would say about 17km from Kasol. In case you don’t know where Kasol is, this Hippieland is aptly located in Himachal Pradesh, India. You can reach Kasol either from Bhunter or from Manali in the same state. And to reach Bhunter or Manali, it is safe to start from New Delhi or Chandigarh.

Art of Depression

Art of Depression

Art is in everything around us. The calligraphy on the cover of the book that lies in front of you, the dull vertically stripped cloth that clings to the frames of your sofa, the diagonal joints of the photo frame holding onto the picture that is dearest to you, the holes of the socket where you plug in your cell phone to power it up, the tube of ointment you use to apply on your wounds, the Happy Birthday card that stands on a corner of your table to remind you of your best friend, the wooden puppet that stays still until you touch it and the embroidery on the clothes that you wore to work today. Art glorifies everything in this world, even the death, even in death. Art exalts everything that is in nature and everything that a man can understand. Art takes birth in the minds of humans, uses them to get nourished and be released back into the sanctuary of Mother Nature. In those minds we also have the origins of emotions. Emotions that can either build us or ruin us. Most of the times, it is the story of ruins. And ruins again generate another battery of emotions that are so derailed from the origin that in search of their mothership, they fall into a loop. It is a combination of “listening to your favourite song back-to-back until you start hating it”, “repeating the same thoughts over and over until you make them sound truer than before irrespective of them being pseudo or not” and “Finding Nemo” without Dory, not even since the beginning. It is only when you breakdown looking at a thoughtful post having a painting of a girl with a smudged head, not only face, wearing a white coloured top and yellow coloured skirt that you understand that you are in depression.

Depression is you having the capability to chisel out a sundae out of a mountain but being unwilling to even spit out the hair strand that accidentally got into your mouth. Distraction from your thoughts is the cure for your depression but you muster all your strength to concentrate on looping. It is nothing but playing basketball with a boulder instead of a ball. Anxiety practically ditches you. Even Numb by Linkin Park won’t match your numbness. It is basically sugar cubes refusing to be sweet.

Just like a leech, depression feeds on your inability to stop enjoying your own sorrow. It is something like seeing a painting depicting grief and thinking of yourself in it and wondering how you are grieving without even understanding what the artist who painted it must have actually seen in the muse. In short, it is self-inflicted pain where you are not sensing the prick. You are numb, you see. You are so used to this situation and one fine day when you realise that you need to go and get a life for yourself, you are in a dilemma about which life to get because you have turned from a human into a dog, a dog that was chasing its own tail. So, you need to break out of the loop and stop romanticizing depression along with pain.

Being disgusted with depressing thoughts is more effective than being dreadful of them. Depressing thoughts are like those bastard printers that sense your dread like urgency and print d…a…m…n… slow. Squint at them, flick them off your shoulders, say ewwww and move on. Next time they find you again, don’t be a dog.

Image courtesy: Music is Art

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Once Upon a Love

For months they had toiled under the Sun. In the huddle, they never knew where they would be found in the next moment and with whom. Sometimes they moved in waves and sometimes hanging on to the strained bond they had developed with others in the process of migration. They were never allowed to be in the same place and were not even once told what they were to do. All they knew was they were on a constant move since the fateful day when they were taken away from their loved ones. Not even a one of them was able to forget it. Some of them were lucky enough to save themselves, but most of them were dragged one after another into the stream of their people and of other tribes. Unlike now, in the initial days they were not allowed to stop. The consistency was painful. Their complaints were unheard. If noticed to be grumbling and rebelling, they were thrown out of the tracks they were following and left out in unknown land at the mercy of strange tribes who seldom welcomed the outcasts. For days they moved constantly until they reached a place vast enough to hold multiples of their huddles. With no shelter above their head, they lulled in whatever state they were under the sky. They were there now, just like they had been there for months. But, each of them knew what was going to happen next. They had heard from those who were there before, those who were not seen again next day. They knew it was time when they will be picked up one by one, bonds broken and thrown into carts that would silently move away as anguish on both sides prepares to forge new bonds.

The carts moved whither its occupants knew not. With no immediate purpose, they held on to whatever they could. Carts moved slowly compared to their sudden initial relocation. They didn’t know whether they were going back the same way or making new paths. Whenever the carts stopped, from the openings they tried to see if there was anybody they know in the nearby carts and how they were doing. Because they were able to see the surroundings as they passed through different landscapes, they were able to be lost in their thoughts, which was a welcome bliss in that god forsaken condition. They had already lost the count of the days since they had left the huddle. Getting a hang of their own pitiful state, they sometimes smiled at themselves and hummed.

One day, one of them suddenly started screaming looking down at the Earth they were passing through. Another one who belonged to the same tribe understood what the first one was saying and joined along. It turned out that there were too many from the same tribe and they all started screaming once they understood what the other meant. By the time the traffickers realised it was the loved part of Earth of the screaming, a rebellion had begun. Finding a new purpose, the occupants of each cart pushed and pulled at the grills to help themselves go free. Lightning were fired and their thundering were heard for miles. That Earth couldn’t understand what was happening. No amount of lightning could stop even a single drop of rain that had found a new lease of life and all the traffickers floated away along with their broken artillery and carts. The Earth looked up to find a stampede and chaos up in the sky. Each drop scattered in the possible directions of its Earth and hurried. The rush downwards was unanticipated, but the Earth spread their arms wide open as soon as they understood what was happening. The union changed the colour the Earth to lush green and created a puddle everywhere. Some went home beneath the soil and others stayed up to celebrate. They knew the traffickers would come back for them sooner or later and things would repeat, but for now there was love just like there once was.

Shwetha H S

The Meh Visitor

It was that time of the day when I walked back home. Family, mom-made food, books and bed awaited me. I got down about a kilometre away from my home because the bus in which I was took a deviation. I didn’t want to wait for a connecting bus and instead decided to walk home. The lanes were desolated and this was unusual. Though I didn’t stop the music I was listening to and of course didn’t remove my earphones even for a second, I was alert and was looking around trying to sense creepy people. Few more minutes and I would have reached home, but there was a tap on my right shoulder and I turned around to find nobody. Again there was a tap on my left shoulder and I found none when I turned around. It’s only when there was a tap on my head and I looked up, I realised that I was in a trouble. It dawned upon me as the rain rushed down that I had forgotten to carry my umbrella. But then, I like rain. Oh wait, I like only to watch the rain, but not play in it. Maybe just stretch my arms out and collect a few drops of water in the pit of my palms. And maybe just wilfully play in rain and get drenched in rain without looking raunchy… Oh no! I will fall sick. To play or not to play in rain, that is the question. And the footwear also will get dirty. Downpour had started and I had to make haste. Well, a plate of golgappa would do no harm, I thought. Since I was already near my home by the time my train of thoughts stopped and I was in no mood to make haste, I preferred having golgappa. Then I got back to thinking, well overthinking, about how rain is both welcomed and unwelcome depending on each person’s situation, but rain doesn’t care and just showers down whenever and wherever it feels like. Rain is a badass; is indifferent to our needs of the moment. Someone might want to go out for a jog or someone is rushing to meet his girlfriend or someone wants to enjoy a dry weather. No, you do your thing, if you can and rain does its thing. No point in singing “Rain! Rain! Go away!” Rain will look upon you with a meh expression. I can totally imagine rain saying “tum tuch manav” and swirl and sway and sweep down on humanity to wash away…wait, I don’t want to get washed away. I won’t even go to the Ganges to wash my sins. They are precious. So, rain… though you pray to it, get harmless animals married in human ways and sing ruthless songs, rain will descend upon Earth only when it wants to. It had not stopped raining even after me finishing a plate of golgappa. See, rain didn’t care even for my golgappa. Why would it even care about whether I reach home or not? I walked back home anyway.