Politicking with people


“But they are a good person.”

What a stupid argument to continue being indecisive about someone.

Everybody can afford basic decency despite their bullshit political leanings. I don’t feel guilty in calling out people’s bad politics, and I am not saying they’re doomed for hell either. But after a point, I find right leaning politics impossible to converse with sincerely.

I don’t think

“But they are from our political leaning/this identity.”

However, the opposite is also true: You may be horrible, unempathetic and intolerable despite your explicit “woke” politics. That’s boring too. I feel disenchanted by the harshness or a politics that is focussed on centering suffering as a tool.

I am sure I will soon meet a Commie too who will be disappointingly human. But let us postpone that till I have read all the books. 🙂

❤🏴

tame shewolf.

PS: Brain is a fog. all I can muster today.

The Dream Meal


Obviously, it is night time and I am thinking about food because this is time for my binge. So this is my distraction writing which may or may not help me. But I have realised I am supposed to really pause to enjoy food.

I have been listening to Off-Menu podcast by James Acaster and Ed Gamble. It has got me thinking about my own dream meal. To be honest, I love every dream meal that I have heard on it so making this list is super hard. I actually can’t choose. This is my mood right now, I guess.

Also, fair warning: I am a convenient vegetarian. So my dream meal will be vegetarian only.

Starter

A starter is so beautiful. When my parents allowed for it in a restaurant, it was a fucking treat! In India, it is unnecessarily overpriced and I don’t feel like indulging in it myself if I am on a budget. But if I can, uff.. that could be everything and the only thing that I would eat.

The stupid thing about going on dates is sometimes, it is looked down upon to actually order a meal. Bitch-bois really want me to be satisfied with starters and drinks, and I hate that. I oblige because how can I eat more than the other person in a meal! But I literally know in my head that this ain’t gonna work long term for sure. Men with no appetite or who are fussy eaters piss me off. Never will I ever even tolerate such bullshit.

I don’t mind any starter really, but one starter I crave for is Spring rolls. It is exactly because people don’t order it often and don’t like it, is the reason I crave for it. Yeah, yeah, there is a possibility that it may be a badly made spring roll, not enough filling, soggy even. But, when done right, it is everything I ever need in a mouthful of food. It is fried, flavourful, full of textures. I don’t care if you don’t like the maida taste, I will eat your portion, bitch.

 

HD wallpaper: fried spring rolls in white platter, nem, chinese ...

Look at this beaut.

Main Meal

I am obviously not going to stick to just one cuisine if it is a dream meal in a dreamy restaurant. This is a mess of gastronomic proportions. But hear me out… Creamy Spaghetti Pasta with fresh vegetables.

The point being my main meal would have been noodles. But I couldn’t choose a good one I have tasted in the Chinese variety. But I have memories of this one meal where I ate creamy spaghetti pasta.  Again, the creaminess, the texture of the broccoli and mushrooms with the softness of the pasta, the never-ending looping of spaghetti on your fork.. You literally get to play with your food. Plus accompanied with bread to clean off your plate. Like, it is a thing you can proudly do. Lick that last creaminess with bread but you get to be appropriate about it.

I try to make my ramen noodles creamy by adding cheese just to recreate that memory.

dish food produce vegetable cuisine pasta soup spaghetti italian food creamy pasta side dishes carbonara

Sigh. This picture doesn’t do justice to what I am imagining.

Side Dish

Can I have a bread basket? Could I write a love letter to bread?

Toasted Bread. Garlic Bread. Oregano Bread. Multigrain bread.

Mini bread basket

Will they ever do justice to you in a restaurant, my dear bread?

Bread. Bread. Bread. Love of my life, Bread. You can never be a side dish. These haters don’t value your softness, your ability to soak in all the flavours so beautifully, your ability to provide umami. Bitches don’t love you like I do, bread. You are the star of my life. They can tell me that you are bad for me, but I am never going to give you up. What can I not dip you in? What can I not combine you with? I remain beholden to you. Accept the meek love that I offer you for the joy you bring me.

Drink

I am not a connoisseur of alcohol. I will drink anything, will try everything and then forget their names. When left on my own devices, my safe choice has always been “Whiskey neat with ice.”

It is a drink I don’t chug. I always end up chugging sweet cocktails like it is sherbet. Then it messes me up too quickly than I wanted it. Other drinks need a soft drink/soda mixer. But not whiskey. What brand I drink depends on how much money I have. 😛 But do I care? I am chill if it is chilled but burns down my throat and I can savour it.

Glass With Whiskey Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

I am not tempte—-

 

Dessert

This was difficult. A complete meal would close with chocolate nutty icecream. But then I thought about what is it that I crave… Chocolate ice cream mixed with nuts is easily acquired by me. But again, a dessert I dream of has been the Cheesecake. Light. Beautiful. Indulgent. Different textures promised again. The three colours have to be prominent. A dark biscuit base, a lighter creamier centre, and the soft glazed brown of the top. You could savour every spoon of the slice. Every bite, if it is made perfectly– like all desserts demand, can make you go mmmmm..

File:Raised slice of cheesecake.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

A dessert that makes you loudly moan is something.

Alright, writing this has help me cross my binge urge. Tell me what is your dream meal, and I think, I would already hop on board because there is no meal that I dislike. Clearly, the whole list is a longing, a craving out of scarcity. But I love food as I have repeated several times over now. Don’t test my love.

I am blessed to be stuck with my mom in quarantine because she loves cooking and is great at it!

Wracked by a relentless passion for food,
tame shewolf.

PS: Thalis are always my dream meal because my stomach is a vortex.

The Best Gujarati Restaurants In Gurgaon | We Are Gurgaon

Look at this and tell me you are not already overwhelmed with emotion by this royalty.

PPS: I could have a food appreciation post for South Indian breakfast food and Gujarati dishes.. but I can’t go down that road without doing injustice to everything else that I love. These cravings are more often resolved thanks to my mom. PEACE!

 

Not feminine enough


Thought Trigger: Grunthus Grumpus’ article

It was my own misogyny that very early on, I had decided that I am not going to be pretty. I was not an ugly kid, but I still decided that I won’t be pretty. Today, I feel to an utmost certainty that I am not pretty, and even slightly indulging in dressing up makes me feel like a fraud.

I disrespected femininity. I saw it as shallow. I saw it as an act, definitely inauthentic. I also disrespected the kind of guys who fell for that display of femininity. I wanted to be a boy so I could show boys how to be better at it. I wanted to access the power that even young boys possessed- of being the last word in a discussion with friends, of everybody in your family pandering to you, of that automatic respect and partiality that teachers bestow on guys for being rebellious. For a girl, friendship becomes not about wit, but about being agreeable and bubbly; family teaches you to adjust than demand, and teachers shower you with attention for sincerity and not mischievousness. I really felt jealous of guys for the fucking fluke of being born a guy. I was miserable to watch stupid guys reap benefits of a patriarchy.

I ended up being totally played into becoming a “proper girl with brains”.  I weaponized “being smart” and “not girly”. I was very uptight and judgemental about a lot of things, all of them rooted in misogyny. On one hand, I rejected girls who were good at using their femininity as a tool, but I saw them being disrespected by their peers for the same. On the other hand, I chose to compete with boys but with an internalised hatred for my gender which made me smaller to them anyway. I dismissed and even patronised guys who were not smart. So, it was like choosing to rebel but still remain within the themes dictated by the system.

My rejection of femininity really affected me as a teen. I, of course, came across as a lesbian, but not even desirable to a lesbian. I was constantly reminded how I could dress better or how I was not feminine enough to be objectively pretty. There were too many failed attempts to pretend to be feminine. My parents also kept pointing out about my unfeminine ways of sitting, sleeping, combing my hair even. Dressing up is still a soul-sucking chore for me. I don’t go to social occasions or a fancy place most of the time, because of how arduous it is for me to dress up and fail at it so conspicuously. I always fall prey to expectations of me. Recently my guy-friends point out my fake laugh, or my dead smile to something that’s not funny, which made me reflect on when the fuck did I fucking pick up this creepy habit? Oh, it was for that crush when I was 15. Kill me.

My successful rejection of prettiness has led me to be the most confident when I present myself in a desexualized way. I get really uncomfortable and angry even if I am reminded that I am a woman. I was uncomfortable with my body perceived under the male gaze (not because I was uncomfortable with my body as a woman.) There is some sense of control I can assert when I interact with people in a desexualized manner. I rid myself of the possibility of a flirtatious interaction where I have to play feminine to succeed. (Not that I have never been part of such conversations, but how demeaning and problematic that short-lived experience is, is brilliantly articulated in the above article. I have this clarity only in hindsight.) I guess, desexualizing is also a preemptive rejection of myself before a dimwit guy reminds me I am not ‘his type’.

The sexualized self of myself has adopted stifling masculine notions of sex. In my teens, I ended up discussing sex with only guys, and I have inherited this shitty competitiveness of men when it comes to sex. Sex has actually become a list of to-dos for me. Have I done that? Have I experienced this? Next time I need to try that. How many times I have done it? This was so detrimental and toxic for me. I was so frustrated to not be able to masturbate as easily as a guy, not reach orgasm as quickly as the guy. Imitating this twisted focus on the sex and not the eroticism to reach the headspace for sex. How many sex-ed videos and columns and books created by women have I watched/read to decode how my own body works and how my own desire manifests itself. Despite that, there is a sense of the male gaze transfixed at the back of my head. There is this struggle when I don’t know if I am playing into it, or this expression of desire and sexiness is mine alone. Even the suspicion that I am catering to men can shut me down.

Because my reality seems like an ironic dorky ugliness in the face of a singular type of beauty, my fantastical desire requires utter narcissism. But I can no more bridge the two in my erotic life. I also can’t bridge my intellectual belief of equality with men and my reality that teaches me to be suspicious of men, and that woman>>> men. These conflicts have no positive effect on my personal life.

There is so much more that she (the writer of the above article) talks about, which I relate to in some way. I get her angst:

“How to deal with the dilemma of hotness as a feminist? Im a journey to be your own person/woman? Either you commit yourself to being ugly as a statement or you think of everything about you as attractive, also as a statement. Desiring in spite of feeling undesirable. Desiring in spite of feeling like your ugliest, most unfuckable self. If there’s one thing I have learned, it is to listen to what my paranoias and fantasies are trying to tell me. Who do I tell myself I have to be in order for me to stop punishing myself? Whose pleasure, whose power? I have been using hetero-romance as a way to wound myself, oscillating between wanting to reject the everything I have been told I should be and feeling rejected because I know I never was “that girl” anyway.”

Locus of control


Thought trigger: Tejas Harad’s post

I have always had a strong “internal” locus of control that means I strongly believe that what I get in life, is because of my actions. If you have a strong “external” locus of control, you believe that other’s action affect you on a much larger scale than your own actions; so if you fail, you would blame fate, or a person, or the system or God, or whatever.

Since I have a strong internal locus of control, my failures are my fault alone and my success is also only mine. So basically, I am what Tejas calls a person with a “stinking sense of entitlement”.

Because of this post, I reflected on my own locus of control and recognized that it not only affected my rationalizations about myself, but also my world-view and my political views etc. And maybe, I never explicitly think of people under poverty as people who “could just work harder and not be poor” but I have to confess that I did agree with motivational crap like “if you are born poor, it is not your fault; but if you die poor, it is.” I am really embarrassed of this stupidity on my part.

Lately, I have come across terms like “social capital” (the network of people your family, your parents or you know and have access to), “cultural capital” (marked by your level of education, your style of speech/appearance, your access to good art) and I recognize my own privilege. I recognize that the world is not a level-playing ground. I am a third-generation English speaker in my family, and I have taught English to six-year olds who are their family’s first. This disparity, which for the most of my childhood I had completely blocked out, is so vivid since my teaching stint.

I guess, Barack Obama was right about misunderstood teenagers being impressed with Ayn Rand (cue: blast from the past). I realize that Ayn Rand appealed to me because of her strong inner locus of control.

However, her idea of what a “self-made man” looked like was completely different from what they really look like in real life. I am so lucky to have already met friends who are unimaginably self-made, and they weren’t anything like Fountainhead’s Howard Roark and Atlas Shrugged’s John Galt. They (my friends) are not heroes that isolate themselves from the world, and are not proud to be “above average” (inside joke). They are not people who don’t have an internal locus of control, and they are not unsympathetic to human shortcomings. They are not blind to systematic oppression based on gender, race, caste, sexual orientation etc.

I completely understand the frustration that Tejas displays in his post at people who are blind to their privilege:

“As if people operate in isolation. As if external factors don’t matter at all. As if capitalism is such a fair system that it rewards people commensurate to their hardwork/ talents/ skills. This false notion which is passed on from one generation to the next and accepted as commonsense by everybody, is insidious. It makes any critique of our unjust system impossible. It pits one person in competition with the other. And it is completely devoid of empathy.”

IRT: Unfinished Business


 

Thought trigger: Bakbakee’s post.

When I was 15 years, I didn’t need closure. I knew change was permanent. I dreamt about college being better than school. I was great friends with new friends in my imagination. I knew things are supposed to end. I always looked forward to the future.

At 15, I didn’t need closure.

What made me realize the need for closure was my first promise of forever. So, here’s how that story goes:

We were on a school trip, and I was teasing my friend (Let’s call her PK) with a guy she liked then (whose initials are also PK). XD

I told her something in the lines of “So, when you get married to him, and I am not around, please definitely remember to do this.”  I don’t remember what exactly I said, but I recall everyone, including me, laughing loudly at it. Topics changed, and we teased other people too. Suddenly another of my friend tells me that PK was crying.

[If you know me, you know I get uncomfortable with people crying. If there is anyone crying, the last person to go to for comfort is me. In my defense, my friends don’t cry, they wail (at least it feels like that in my head). In response, I freeze.]

So, I went up to her hesitantly. She was sitting with her head resting on the window of the bus, cocooned in the corner with her arms folded. As soon as I asked her why she was crying, she started yelling at me, crying all the while. She told me how dare I thought of not being  present in her marriage, or imagine not being friends with her after school or say such a thing so matter-of-factly.

Of course, I rationalized with her. But that didn’t work. She cried some more. I didn’t know how to stop her from crying. I was the villain here.

I apologized profusely, made a few promises in the rush of things and consequently, she stopped crying. My head was quiet for the rest of the journey. It was my turn to sit in the corner, and think about what had happened.

I never thought forever was possible. I still know it in my head- Of course, it isn’t. But then, if promises can be upheld, why is forever impossible? Why are endings necessary?

I don’t associate closure with endings. For me, it is more of a sense of ending, not necessarily followed by an end to the relationship. If the thought of a person makes you “excitable”, you don’t have closure. If even after a mutual end, you avoid crossing each other’s paths, you don’t have closure.

I believe that closure is the end of negative patterns in a relationship, not the relationship. Concluding those patterns once and for all, and distancing yourself from triggers where you’ll lash out with hurt, accepting the finality and cherishing what remains with maturity… That’s what it means to me. I have come to understand that one has to go through the five stages of grief ( Denial, Anger,  Bargaining, Sadness, Acceptance) in some ways, although a little less intensely to find true closure. Having said that, I am not particularly good at letting go. I cling to hope. So, I don’t get past ‘bargaining’ many times.

When the what-ifs plague you, when the future can hold a number of possibilities, even if they’re mostly bad, you’re willing to risk leaving the end open for the little good that may complete the story. I can’t tie things up into a romantic end myself. It remains a wound I keep fingering to check if it has healed.

I still think about that day when PK cried. I curse her. She has destroyed my intellectual clarity, and made it emotionally messy.

Now, when I know with absolute certainty that an era of my life is going to end soon, I already say my goodbyes in subtle ways. I click pictures in my head. I laugh louder at jokes. I write letters. I thank. I do everything possible to me to achieve the sense of completion. But life isn’t always predictable, unfortunately or fortunately. Unceremonious, abrupt endings stab you time and again. Letting go is the lesson you keep relearning.

Detachment is a complex lesson. It is not the shortcut to living a life without disappointments.

But the there are some endings that don’t come with a sense of permanency. This tiny bit dealing with “unfinished business” has reached no resolution in my head. Maybe I don’t understand ‘open ends’ well, but I do recognize it when a blogger describes it well:

“But then familiarity of the previous relationship lingers. It is a composite of what remains after everything has been said and done.

Closure doesn’t cure unfinished business.”