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 her..in 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.