Sunday, 2 April 2017

They Sell Sunsets To Kids

'I don't think you understand. It is a trivial issue.'
'Miss Grant, murder is not something we view as trivial.'
Her laugh fills the room.
'But nobody has died!'
'We understand that now but we are answerable for the resources used. An entire block locked for three days. Ten officers have spent the week working on the case tirelessly, not to mention the forensics team and the various tests.'
'If you would have contacted me earlier, you could have avoided all this trouble.'
A blue diary is opened and the pages are ruffled.
'She doesn't like it when I wear blue. It doesn't suit my eyes. I don't understand but comply. She has agreed to not wear the green scarf because I hate it.'
'These details seem very intimate. Are you sure he hasn't got them by observing someone in real life?'
'Well, who could he have seen? He hasn't stepped out of his house in the past six months.'
'When was the last time you saw him Miss Grant?'
'Oh, I don't know... I dropped him some food four months back I think..'
'Well, then you possibly cannot attest to this fact.'
'You have to believe me...he is innocent...he has suffered so much already. Please, let me see him. The world has ruined him.'
'We know about his medical history madam. But we still don't know what caused it.'
'All the loveliest things in the world.'
'We don't have time to decipher puzzles madam. Plain speak please.'
'I will tell you everything you need to know on our way to meet my son.'
'Alright madam.'
A phone call is made from the room which falls empty in a matter of minutes.
'He was a lovely boy. He was gentle, kind and trusting of everybody. A nest in a nearby tree had fallen and injured two birds. He took them into his room and nursed them for months. I was so proud of him.'
An impatient sigh fills the corridor as they walk.
'He grew up as any normal kid would- liking those books, movies, and shows. "I will buy a Ferrari and take you for a ride in it Ma. I will be the best at my job, wearing Armani suits and live in a mansion like Bruce Wayne. When I get married to the love of my life, we will dance with every guest at the wedding to 'Can't take my eyes off you'." You're supposed to get over such fantasies..'
'He went away for college and that's where he met her. He promised to call me twice every week but it changed to four times a week. He would never tell me about anything other than her- how wonderful she was, how they liked the same things, her ambitions, how he could make up to her for the fights.'
'I was happy at first but got more and more concerned as the obsession grew. He got her home once and she was a wonderful girl. It seemed like she truly loved him. He was happier than I had ever seen him. But I still cautioned him. "You're young. Don't make the mistake of thinking this is all you deserve". I don't think he listened.'
They enter an elevator.
'It ended a month later. She told him that she had fallen in love with someone else. He broke.'
They step into a dimly lit corridor with caged doors every few meters.
'He stopped getting out of his dorm room. A month before his second semester finals, he showed up at the door. I ask him what's wrong but he doesn't answer. He moved into his room. The college kept sending letters. Teachers showed up, begging him to not waste his future. But he wouldn't meet anyone.'
' I asked him everyday to say something but he would never speak more than what he needed. "I am fine, Ma", he would say constantly. My concern slowly turned into anger. We would fight during the day and I would spend the nights crying, trying to figure out what I did wrong. But after a few weeks, things started to look better. He was talking to his friends again, he smiled and laughed. He started working at a local store and attended night classes. I thought it had finally passed until my sister and her kids came.'
'We all got together in the living room to watch a movie. He refused and wanted to go back to his room. When the kids circled him and tried to get him to the living room, he pushed them and screamed. I saw tears and fear in his eyes. He rushed up and locked himself. That's when I knew what was wrong.'
'What was it?'
'Everything he had ever seen or heard. They had fed him stories, stories which he liked better than reality. He knew about love before he felt it. He knew success before he tasted it. He knew about life before he lived it. They were better in his imagination than reality and when the anchor to that reality left him, he saw no virtue remaining there. Everything that had drugged him into feeling happy and hopeful had blinded him. They sold happy sunsets to kids. And they bought them.'
'What happened then?'
' I purged our house. No TV. No movies. No music. No fiction books. It did little to help as he moved out in a week. I begged him to not go but he wouldn't listen. That was five years ago.'
'We should tell you Miss Grant that the neighbors also believe he is innocent. Miss Juarez, whose house he knocked on, said that even though he was profusely crying "I killed her. I killed her", she had never seen him out of the house. She would frequently visit his house and had chanced upon the diaries. She believed it was his coping mechanism and never bought it up.'
'Thank god she was there. I will meet her soon.'
'You may meet him now. We can only give you 20 minutes. We will process his bail and discharge tomorrow.'
'Thank you.'
A cell door opens to reveal a man writing in a book. He looks up and smiles.
'Mom! You're not going to believe it, but I met someone. Her name is Debra..'

Sunday, 10 July 2016

A Fictitious Banality- Riddled Conversation About The Past Few Weeks

Person: Man, it's been a really shitty couple of days, hasn't it?

Me: Yeah. Pretty awful.

Person: I mean to think of it happening in America...

Me: Umm..that's pretty bad. But things have been bad since last week- Baghdad, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh- twice, Istanbul.

Person: Oh yeah. That too.

Me: I guess we shouldn't be surprised that few people remember it or even know about it. There is a bias in the media and online in how and who we talk about based on the color of their skin.

Person *appalled at my statement* : I think that's a pretty disgusting thing to say. Everything isn't as bad as you make it out to be. In death, we are all equal.

Me *laughing* : That last statement has been proven wrong throughout history multiple times.

Person *ignoring me as he looks to his phone * : "Baby it don't matter if you're Black or White"

Me: Really? Your defense is a pop song?

Person *visibly annoyed*: I am not saying anything to you. That's just the caption I have kept for my Instagram post in the wake of the shootings in USA and Dallas.

Me: Victims are grateful for that. I am sure.

Person:  Oh don't start now. It's not even your opinion. The Comedian Anthony Jeselnick said it without providing any solution. So thoughts and prayers don't help. What do we do?

Me: Never forgetting. Choosing painful remembrance over instant gratification and declarations. Everyone should deal with a loss in their own way but not by assuming that their grief is greater than the others. If you're a religious person, pray. If you're an atheist, keep them in your thoughts. If you're a cynic like me who is disgusted with humanity killing each other, give a loud 'Fuck You' out. But do all this without exploiting some tragedy for your benefit, least of all on the Internet.

Person: Thankfully, no one will listen to you. But what problem do you now have with the Internet? It's such a wonderful medium which has changed the lives of people for the better.

Me: The Internet is a cure for sure. It's a cure for the greatest disease white people have faced since they found themselves closest to self-actualization than any species before- boredom. The articles, the movements, the tearful stories, the memes, the platforms and apps have all been designed to serve one purpose and one purpose alone- to never bore the white people. But the cost of creating the world's greatest boredom killer was too much even for the world's most powerful race. So they went about convincing the sub-par humans that they too suffered from this same disease of boredom. These 'less fortunate' ate it all up because it helped distract them from the real problems of poverty, corruption, bias and oppression. So now we have an incestuous setup which celebrates its success and progress without achieving nothing more than the annihilation of boredom.

Person: That's.....the most eloquent portrayal of bullshit I have ever heard. It's low.. even for you.

Me: Think about it- you're happy, sad, outraged, marveled, disgusted, and obsessed online but you're never bored are you?

Person: Right. So it's all about race isn't it?

Me: Yes, maybe some parts of it are about race and privilege. Maybe this is why the inherent bias of the real world even makes it online. There were no #IAmSaudi Or #IAmIraqi solidarity movements. The Paris Attacks, Belgium, Orlando, 9/11 are to be mentioned in the Hall Of Horrors. But a Google Map showing a bomb infested Baghdad since 2003 isn't shocking. Countless bombings in Africa by extremists isn't shocking. Because somewhere deep down, we have accepted it as 'part of a plan'. It's like what the Joker said in The Dark Knight, nobody loses their minds until we reach a tipping point like a toddler drowning in the Mediterranean.

Person: I advise you tread carefully. You may have just kickoff a 'what-aboutery' war now. And who is giving a pop culture reference now? Nolan? Really?

Me: Try me

Person: Why compare the deaths? Are you implying some deaths are more important than others?

Me: No. I am emphatically stating that a mix of social, cultural and medium based norms has created the appearance that some aren't as important as others.

Person: The black men shot by the US police for no legal reasons?

Me: Horrific.

Person: Dallas?

Me: Horrific.

Person: Hmmm. Baghdad bombing?

Me: Horrific. All of it. I am simply suggesting that the hypocrisy addicted species that we are, we must sometimes endeavor for consistency- if you wish to weep for the gruesome departures in the world and make a spectacle of it, do it for all. Keep the flags of Iraq and Saudi Arabia as handy as you did that of France.

Person *laughing* : Sure. People will listen to you. Because you know, everyone comes online to be a political activist.

*Our phones buzz*

Person: Kashmir. Again.

Me: Maoists. Again.

*Both look at each other for a while*

Person: Have you seen this Panda video? It's too funny.

Me: No but I want to show you this awesome standup. He is too good.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Best Of Me In 2015

A Compilation Of My Best And Most Important Works From The Year. 


(Medium Article Published By Quartz India)
Here is the speech Narendra Modi should have given after the beef lynching in India

Part of a BBC World Radio Debate Panel On Beef Politics. Listen To It Here-

#BringBackOurHumanity: Boko Haram And Armchair Activism

Best Of Homegrown Articles

Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Basement

Me: I did it. I am so sorry but I did it.
Them: Did what?
Me: I chained her. I held her hostage and then I painted every wall with her body.
Them: What.. what..what are you saying? Did you kill her?

I wish. I wish I had killed her. But that wasn't to be. 
She is still there in this dark and damp place where few can go to never return.
The ceiling of which is covered by the strands of her hair, fleeting and dancing in a rhythm while some are held together in a sombre fashion. 
The lips on the floor are brown with a tinge of pink but so scrumptious even without the pretentious red the world so craves.
The walls are covered in her skin, with her eyes forming the only windows to the outside world.

But don't get me wrong. It's not just some lustful desire.

I remember I never learnt the meaning of ecstasy till I saw her long hair swirling around as she danced to some music. But if those lose freckles were combed together into a well structured bundle, there was no room for merriment as she let the world know, she meant business.
The practiced confidence would be given away by those quivering lips, with a quick bite in for some gaffes, or just put on some silly face to make me laugh. My constant reminders of "I hate makeup" would be echoed back by, 'but this is only lipstick'. I still preferred the unadulterated brown.
The walks and embraces where her skin would brush against mine in a softness which I wish could be described in words. I was the surveyor of her flesh, constantly picking her up for the bruises and burns she would be so nonchalant about. She has a mole on her right neck.
The eyes would harbour so much, you would be baffled as to why anyone paid attention to her words and mouth. The smiles and laughs would never be as genuine as the deep stare which wanted to let out so much more while her moist eyes could never be conveyed in words. How I wish I could step behind them and see myself as she did.

The darkness within my tomb for her would only be disturbed by the theatrical adaptation of my memories. The one where we laughed the most, the one where we connected the most, the big arguments and fights, the one where she didn't understand anything I said. That night she hurt me...but you know what these all have in consistency? A lie. The lie which shapes them for me- either they are too happy or too sad where she is a caricature of what I perceived the memory to be. I don't think either of us can remember exactly how good or bad those moments are.

Them: You are too deep in her man. You are..scaring us. You are only going to hurt yourself. It's time to move on and get over her.

Me: I am. I am so deep in that I can't kill my memory. She is with me even when she isn't. But I know I will get over her. This room will be locked to never be opened again. The question is...will she get over me?

Them: She has never loved you or reciprocated it. You guys were never even together and now..she is with someone else. So how can you ask if she will get over you?

Me: My love is the air of her conscience. The encompassing element we never acknowledge or feel but the one which refuses to leave our side. We take it for granted but every now and then, we remember it when it swirls like a wind or even worse, a storm. I am the storm which her heart will feel in the fleeting moments of doubt and loneliness. She will never openly acknowledge my love, until it will blow over her nerves and cells like the unshakable storm it is. And if that storm ever compels her to seek this closed chapter in my heart, I may even be inclined to let her in and stay.

Them: You are a fool.

Me: Not just some fool. A fool in love.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

For My Valentine

Hey Honey,
I know what date it is today. But I haven't got you anything.

The reason is not that I forgot or didn't try. I did, as excruciatingly as I could.

The reminders started coming in early. A week before, the apps on my phone started sending me the popup notifications- " Tell her you love her" and " Don't you want to tell Swati how special she is?" I got really scared at the last one. How did they know your name? I remembered that I had given them access to my Facebook profile. I should manage my privacy better.

The notifications worked their magic. I found myself sifting through the apps to find something to gift you. The prices were naturally hiked. There were some special packages on a discount but their quality could not be trusted. Buy her something expensive and she will be mad that you spent all this money. Buy her something cheap and you will feel ashamed about your choice.
This went on for two days.
The hustle of work made me forget all about the day until I met Ravi for lunch two days back. He was describing how he had bought a diamond set and planned an exquisite meal for Heena. They had been having frequent fights and this would serve as an excellent distraction from it all as well as satiate his guilt about having an inappropriate crush on his secretary. Basically, this day served as a pawn in the politics of marriage.
I returned to my desk unperturbed, but not for long.
A plethora of articles started coming in- “20 things you can do to make her feel special”, “20 places you should take your partner to” and “16 reasons why Valentines Day is so important”. Then came the other backlash, surprisingly by the same publications- “18 reasons why it’s fine if you are alone”, ” 20 instances when it was proved that V Day is stupid “etc etc. There were tons of videos with creative ideas about what one can do- write a song, slow dance, a proposal by some guy in Europe etc. I was feeling a sudden surge of pressure on my mind.

I rushed to the nearest mall and gift shops. Naturally, they were all jam-packed to the full with nervous teenagers thronging the aisles. I went to a boutique shop to look at perfumes which you already have. I could overhear the chatter of the boys.

" This is expensive stuff man. You sure you want to buy this?"

" Yeah. Trust me, this is the full proof plan of getting laid, get her something pricey and she will do anything to please you."

Was I this stupid when I was a teenager? Then I thank you for saving me!
The chatter changed to nervous excitement  -professing love by what they are buying, perusing the various banal cards to find one which can fake their emotions the best and some juvenile soft toy she can pretend she likes.
What a mad sight it was. Talking bears and cheap theatrics on one side and wallet slitting gems on the other. Everyone circling around like commercial monkeys, trying to prove the intangible with the most appropriate commercial offering. Why was I here?

I guess I answered that question sub-consciously as I walked out of the place.
I passed many restaurants and even inquired at few. They all claimed full reservations save for one, which I booked immediately. I expected to feel relieved but instead felt even more restless. I wasn't sure whether I wanted this either. Then came today morning.

I opened my eyes to see you, like I have done so many days of the year. But there was nothing different about the day. I felt the same I always have. Was that a bad thing?
I did not feel alone or scared or vulnerable but what I always did when you were around-safe. This made things so much more clear.

I cannot love you as per what day of the year it is. The commercial complex had beaten my self-esteem to its lowest by making me crave for validating my love. I would always be the happiest buying you things when you least expected them and with the sole intention of pleasing you, not to answer a societal norm. I didn't intend to start today.

So darling, I am sorry. Today your girlfriends might send you the photos of all the things they did and they will show-off the annual love their spouses showered but I can't. I can just give you the same love I do everyday. 

I can't wait to come home to watch the same crappy television show with you and cook my bland sad food. I look forward to vehemently debating who was better-John or Paul. But most of all, I wish to just lie in your lap as you read to me- like my daily lullaby.


A Man Whose Love Doesn't Need Validation Or Reassurance.

PS: Say what you want, this day did give some nice music!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

I Will Remember You

The story which couldn't be,
The life I dreamt of for me.
The yes I waited for from you,
But Darling, I will remember you.

The clouds of doubts will rise again,
Someone will come to hurl them away.
When I hold that hand in gratitude,
I will remember the first one who knew.

She will laugh when I am silly,
I hope she finds me funny.
Reassurance would feel good,
Validation always came from you.

They will laud and worship me,
Excellence does that you see,
Mediocrity is a lonely journey,
But I still had you.

The world so often disgusts me,
People are so slippery.
When I lose faith in humanity,
Your kindness grounds me.

Affection is making me exaggerate,
Maybe you aren't that great.
You did me so much wrong,
Yet I miss you when you are gone.

Dreams I believe in more than reality,
Where you see me finally.
The world to me is such a blur,
To me, it's just her.

I am sure to be forgotten in a heartbeat,
Enslaved to the moments of forced civility.
As we depart to be pretentious strangers,
I hope I am not the only one who remembers.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Tragedy Of One Time

They told us we live forever,
That time is nothing to fear,
Second Chances are here to stay.
Wait. did they? 
Or we heard our own whispers?

Took it as it came,
Toiled for what I wanted,
Just never knew what I needed.
Lessons came galore but in futile,
Nothing could be saved if you miss
That One Time.

She was kind more than you would need,
Faced a thousand words and things way more,
Kept a brave face of forgiveness ,
Even to those less deserved.

Save one time when she had it enough,
Spoke her mind and some more,
As fate would have in an ironic twist,
Those whom she forgave, 
Were miser in compassion.

A thousand acts of kindness went to dust,
As all they could recount was that one time.

He always wore his heart upon the sleeve,
Let it all feel the way it deserved to be,
Gave kindness away as it felt right,
Until the heart met her and froze in time.

It burned bright and it flickered dark,
But it was here to stay,  
As long as eternity he thought,
But she broke and burnt the heart given.

He closed the chest and hide the key,
"Never again" was the new motto,
Better to be cruel than be faced with cruelty.

Someone came and knocked,
Begged and confessed how he was all she wanted,
Yet he remained adamant to keep it close.
Tired of waiting, she left scarred.

Little did he know that true love just went away,
As the door remain closed that one time.

Theirs was the love that no one got,
Brother and Sister by blood,friends by choice.
Always fighting but even more caring,
Nothing could break it,
The whole world thought.

Once came a pebble of complaint,
It transformed into a mountain of contention,
Soon there was a creek of silence,
Followed by practiced indifference.

Years went by and there was no word,
Until he called her one time out of urgent need,
The forgotten anger came surging back,
The call was cut with no acceptance.

He cried and called to tell her it was his last day,
He wanted to hear the sister who made him laugh,
Before he left her to cry alone.
And in that fit of anger one time,
She could have heard his last line.

We run and run to create something for the years,
Think of the future, forget the past,
But what of the present?

It's in these bouts of naivety and bubbles,
We forget the importance of the one time.
Life is not quantified
as you think,
But a string of One Times.