“If not Modi, then who?”


There may be no right or wrong answers but there are definitely good and bad questions. This question is one of the bad ones, that keeps showing up to my dismay, essentially to dull an exciting debate. It is not new though, it follows a long history of similar tedious questioning like– Should we stop people from aspiring to be billionaires? Where were you when <insert scandal>? Are we expected to spend our taxes to keep a murderer alive?

These questions are meant to horrify, to silence or to force an admission that there is no other way. It is the devolution of the debate to the immediate pragmatics.

If not Modi, then who?‌”  What is sad is the blatant disrespect to the intelligence of all involved. You think that dissenters haven’t figured out what the election results would turn out to be? (We been knew!) But let’s pause to think about this question anyway and unravel its assumptions: First, a single politician is indispensable! Second, without a majority vote, we would not have a Prime Minister to lead the country and that we have only two options to choose from. ‌

When laid bare like this, you can see that no one politician is that crucial for politics. Coalitions are also not new to India. The problem is not who will win the elections! For the simple reason that if the answers available to you are set up in a binary, whoever wins, the people don’t. Democracy is not a zero-sum game. Lest I remind you, we live in a (multi-party parliamentary system of a) society.

What you should be asking instead is– H̶o̶w̶d̶y̶,̶ ̶M̶o̶d̶i̶?̶!̶  When Modi, what?‌ Why only Modi? The problem is if we don’t ask new and better questions, we must brace ourselves for yet another term of bad questions. As engaged citizens, we have to at least address – forget resolve– all the issues and changes that these kind of election cycles have brought about.

The strategy I offer you is this: Don’t engage a bad question; re-frame the problem with a better question.

The breast story!


There was a project on Instagram called #Identitty by artist Indu. She was drawing and collecting stories of women’s relationship with their breasts! The project was a success but she was overwhelmed by the submissions (which included mine), and stopped before she could draw them all.

I thought my story was kinda funny and I want people to see my nooodz. So I drew myself on the basic Google Keep app because je ne suis pas une artiste.

So here is my #Identitty story–

My relationship with my breasts started to calm down after I googled— “normal breasts look like”. As a teen, I was freaking out about my breasts, but I had a stiff upper lip through it all.

My nipples grew suddenly. Or maybe, it is just how puberty makes it seems. Initially, I thought that it was my fault that they grew so large because I was constantly itching the bumps around my nipple. Turns out, it is really common. Relieved, I promised myself that I will tell my teen daughter/nieces, completely unprompted, that their nipples might itch and it is okay to feel that puberty has especially chosen you to be mean to.

Another thing that I discovered which was “normal” was for your breasts to grow away from each other, leaving only a shadow of the could-have-been-cleavage *even with the bra on*.So it made them seem more like mountain peaks than sculpted domes.

My info on what breasts should look like came from porn, and I had only seen white women nude so I was not really sure how to feel about dark nipples. When I had finally googled my query, I was directed to a medical site with a gallery of just *real* different types of breasts. (I wish I could link you to the site, but it is lost in the internet debris now). There were round breasts, long breasts, breasts like mine but still not quite the same, uneven breasts, prominent nipple hair, small but protruding nipples… you get the gist. I felt better. Everything is scary. Everything is sexy.

But do you know what they don’t tell you about? The goddamn cleavage hair. There are no images (NONE AT ALL) to make me feel better about this one. Because maybe you would have to zoom in and nitpick like me. Most days, I know that it is natural and my gender-queer ass even likes and owns it! Some days, I feel conscious of the split-second gaze on my collar and I prefer removing them.

I am not a teen now. Thank you, time. I am chilled about my body too. Thank you, feminists (and also, to all the exes.)

Now, you might look at this amazing drawing by @indu me(!) and think, “Damn you woman, those are statistically the most common type of breasts, get outta here..” I hear you but bear with me ‘cause I had to take this long and winding route to reach this calm.

IMG_20191018_230918.jpg

I wanted to be drawn amidst waves//water

Fight your genes


I‌ have always had the fear of becoming my parents.

I‌ hate to think it is unavoidable. I find myself imitating my dad’s body language when I rage. I find myself being awkward like my mom when I am confused. I‌ wish we did not live in a nuclear family where your prototype of human beings are your immediate caretakers. Why can’t we live in a commune where I‌ could choose who I want to be like, or influenced by?

I‌ have been thinking about how maybe I‌ also inherit my family’s tragedies and trauma. I find myself fighting between wanting to set it all right aggressively and running away from it. Both tire me. Family life is such a shit-show; is anyone unscathed?

Don’t make me count the good parts. I mean, I want to flesh out how much I hate them better. This dysfunction is a tragedy. I must have heard it in a podcast, where she said– “Hate your parents better”. For me, that means, hate them for the right reasons. Not a blanket hate, but a nuanced hate. A hate that makes space for their human-ness but also holds them accountable, and respects them as people who can grow.

I continue to argue with my parents to be better to themselves (cue: my mom) and be better people (cue: my dad), but then the non-response or cowardice just agitates me to no end. I wish I could walk out. I mean, why do I have to revisit this bullshit over and over again?

All I ever do is keep walking with blinders on. Not my pain to untangle. Not my pain to grieve.

“ ‘Fight your genes.’ The Big Hoom said to us once, to Susan and me. He did not explain. He did not know how to. But we knew what it meant. It meant that we were to march into the hall and take out our school books and reproduce the slipper-shaped animalcule whose psuedopodia power it through a world without feeling; to learn how to inscribe a hexagon into a circle without tearing the paper; to assimilate the causes and consequences of the battle of Panipat without ever identifying your own enemy because that would be mean identifying yourself.

‘Fight your genes’. Focus. Be diligent. Concentrate. Do”
― Jerry Pinto, Em and The Big Hoom

High-functioning depressives-  r e p r e s e n t  ✌️,
TSW

To just do it!


In doing, there is discovery.

What does it take to write one good paragraph a day?

I could contemplate about all the topics I want to write about. I could worry about having nothing new to say. Perhaps if I just say what has already been said, I will discover something about it that needed to be said differently. I may understand my need to restate it again. Maybe, somebody understands the same idea better because I said it in the way it connects to them. So, I do not need to stop myself because it has already been said. I don’t need to worry about saying it perfectly. I don’t have to do justice to what has been said. Well, it has been said.

I need to work my way through words with words to reach the words. To do is to anchor your thoughts. To choose a thought and to pursue it. Will I be able to recreate my abstraction perfectly? Maybe not. I will lose so much of the abstraction because I want the writing to make sense. But I can go at it again, and again. Every idea will be different from what I intended to capture.

In doing, there is discovery.

I started writing because I had fun with it. Not to create a certain number of blog-posts; not to create a self-image that I can’t break away from; not to create milestones; not to do this alone in an island of my own greatness/stupidity. I came here to play.

Going back to playing and being playful,

TSW

Imposter Syndrome and me


Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

I don’t know why I feel so under-confident sometimes. As if, my experiences are not my own. Like, I am not supposed to be where I am. When I am actually somewhere non-stimulating, I keep trying to get out of that space. I‌ have been thinking about why I feel so disconnected and like a fraud all the time. What could be the psychological root for this?

As a teacher

Currently, I am working in an ideal job. It is all that I‌ have been wishing for– Teaching late teens, about politics and sociology, well-paying and yet not working 5 days a week. It is literally what I‌ have been screaming into the void, “why can’t you give me all this?”. (you= void) The void said, “here, everything you wish for, but only for six months.” Kill me. I‌ cherish every moment of being well-paid.

When I am at this job, or prepping for the lectures, I feel that ‌I am faking it. I am the best person to be teaching Marxism. I am the best person to be teaching to be the go-to person for politics and sociology.‌ I‌ have not put in my time. I have not put in the readings. Someone else must have read thousand more things, or could point out more nuances that I could. Someone else doesn’t have to prep this much maybe.

I‌ know. I know. Rationally, I know that this job is me putting in the time. I know that I do already have a good base for this, and I am passionate about it. But, still, the people ‌I‌ look upto were better off when they were 27. They were more ambitious about growing in academia, that I‌ seem to be. Am I copping out when I reject the academia machine, or am I really rebelling on my own terms? What a loser.

As a writer

Since the pace of my blogging has reduced, I‌ keep thinking about how I have lost my voice. I‌ no longer create intentional art. It is always this stream of consciousness vomit. I am tired of my angst, my self-righteousness, and my pain. Haven’t I looked at all these facets in all its depth already? Am I‌ not bored of myself and my patterns? What do I want to say?‌‌‌ Why do I‌ write, other than just using it as a healing tool? Why can’t I‌ write for fun, when people can doodle for fun? When I show up at the keyboard, why can’t I play? Writing for me is treating myself. Definitely. I like the dim light and music that I put on in the evenings to get myself in the zone to right. I forget what the point was other than fossilize traces of me. What do I want to remember? I‌ am not ambitious, wrt external measures of success, but I‌ do have many creative ambitions that I‌ don’t really show up for.

I know. I‌ know. I remember that what got me interested with blogging was a really cool confessional blogger. But then, she went on to write fiction. And‌ I‌ am here, with ideas rotting in my notes section. I cannot summon the energy and discipline it needs to show up for oneself. Oh, you want me to write some piece for your brand, I will do that. I have to do it for myself?‌‌ Maybe next time. I‌ rest on the laurel of having great ideas with a writer’s block. What a loser.

As a political person

I have a debilitating imposter syndrome when I participate in political protests, or even try to write about political stuff. Who do I talk to and how?‌ I‌ must read more to be ready because I am always not ready. I‌ think of all the things I will have to lose if I am on this path– being stupid happy with my apolitical friends;, and being stupid, period. I think of all the things I will have to have already– clarity and tenacity. But here I am, standing as an audience to the suffering of the world.

I know. I‌ know. I am in the world that is burning and I can speak from my own social location. However, there remains a feeling of taking up space where someone else could have been and said it and done it better. I don’t end up saying anything at all. Sigh, what a loser.

As a lover

Oh ho, this imposter syndrome, you guys… it is an unreal, out of body experience. (Welcome to my over-confessional stupid blog.) When I‌ am in love in commitment, I feel like– it is just a phase that I am going through. This cannot be it.‌‌ Is this it? And all such self-doubt.‌‌ I worry about whether I am all present in the love. Could someone else love my partner the way they wanted to be cared for and loved? But when I am out of love, I am pining about hazy details. Did I ever love them truly? Did they even love me?‌‌ And all such pain. Isn’t pain more real than love after all?

I‌ know. I know. This is life. These are all our psychological patterns and I am untangling them one by one.‌ If only I could build a monument to all the people I‌ have ever loved. I‌ have actually; maybe not as grandiose as a monument, but then a small tiny shrine, definitely. And when I did try to speak of my madness to my friends, well one of them did say– What a loser.

Maybe it is all about that. Me watching myself from the outside, and being a harsh to myself. How do I‌ get back in my body?

I‌ am grateful, don’t get me wrong, but I am such a drifter. My soul is barely tied to my body, and it feels miserable.

Edit: Midnight Aha moment- I have to confront the inner glorified self that is being a critical bitch.

The perils of online dating


Ugh, I have been online dating for 5 months now. I was never really curious about it for so long because I had a moral problem with consuming “personhoods” like commodities. Then, I realized this is here to stay and my protest is ineffective. I am already in the system reducing my personhood in some form or the other- my resume, social media presence, this blog and any conversation really— because we tend to prepare a face to meet the faces that we meet.. Besides that, I was also damn bored. I do (controlled) reckless shit when I am bored.

Obviously, I have become numb to it now. But I credit myself for handling it well. Still, here are few perils that constantly tug at my conscience now and then.

The classist/racist rigged game

Let’s be real— any social app will reflect the stupidity of real life in its purest undiluted form. It is classist because you’ve to create your profile in English. In this country, it is a fucking privilege. So, getting irritated with someone for broken, strong accented English is just classist. Also, my soulmate could be a person who doesn’t speak English at all, but in this app, I’d swipe left because I don’t have the patience to discover someone.

It is racist, you know, because this works only for good looking people with the European standard of beauty. Also, it bugs me to realize that my match-percentage is highest among white boys, and it makes me reflect— am I a white gyrle with white privilege and white sensibilities and a white worldview? Whhhhhhyyyyyyyyyy.

It hurts me, because I am suspicious that it might be true. :((

The cheap thrill of swiping

Initially, I used to open every message or look through a profile to swipe left or right. Because, again, I don’t want to reject The One just off-handedly. He might be completely opposite of me, right? But now, I know, he is not the opposite of me. Some political views I just can’t take. And if you can only message “Hi” to my amazingly funny profile, then we really have nothing to talk about.

Also, I get annoyed with beard and it acts as a filter and contributes to 90% of the left swipes. I don’t relate to that kind of masculinity. Also, why do men aspire to look like uncles? You’d ask, “K, but a beard can be shaved off? It is a temperory state”. To that I say, “If all your pictures have beard, that’s your self-image; and I don’t want to be the one telling you to shave it off because I prefer it that way.” That’s just mean. So, I save myself that trouble.

Also, like exams and interviews and fame, swiping right on someone is so god-damn arbitary. I might have already lost The One.

Men

I am sure that I would have had an amazing experience just looking at and reading about amazing girls. But with men, the categories are cocky or clueless or innocent. Men have no game. And if you have no game, the least you could be is earnest. And fuck off, if you’re going to mansplain me about something I joked about in my profile.

And because I talk about sex openly in my profile, it was supposed to act as a filter for what I specifically want, it actually has the opposite effect. It invites everyone to imagine that I am in for hook-ups. Please, I am not. I am paranoid about my safety.

With dating apps, of course you’d argue, the game is in the favour of women. But mate, at what cost? Fine, I do not get as many advertisements as guys get. I definitely get more likes on an average, because I am sure the ratio for women to men is super-skewed. But, I also get more weirder messages and an onslaught of alpha-males entitlement. Even after the infinity filters that I have, I still end up having bad dates and bad experiences. Men seriously have no game because they don’t have empathy.

Also, again, do only white guys clean-shave, ffs? When will the beard/mustache/goatee go out of style?.

The fatigue of emotions

Any app where you have to put yourself out there is really tiring! I sympathize with people who are looking for relationships here. Because, it is just as emotionally draining as a job search. You have to go there, smile, say how much about them excites you, what you want and have to offer, and then it mostly closes without any explanation, or fizzles out naturally. And, then the cycle repeats.

I try to be nice about it if it is not working for me. But only, if the person hasn’t been a douchebag.

I mean, why am I still on this app?

Anti-hope

I am still on this app because when you find someone you gel with, that’s the little push that keeps you going on. I found a new best friend on this app, and the emotional care that is needed— the regular check-ins, the venting about daily life, the teasing— that is fulfilled because of her! But guess what. My perfect friend lives all the way in Argentina! I told her that I am on this app hoping to find another strong connection that may translate into a relationship. And she pointed out that that’s exactly the reason I should not have hope. If I do find a connection like hers, it would be someone miles away. The app is an anti-hope app! I have to agree with my new best friend!

Inevitably, the anti-hope app has contributed to me losing my zaddy-cum-trophy husband. Zaddy had messaged me first! He was beautiful and tattooed and he had pictures of him without a beard too! We hit it off. I, in my mindless swiping, saw his profile come up again, and wondered why does he have a different account with which he is sending me a “hey” again; and I swiped left. To my horror, I realized that his old account is not there anymore and he tried to get in touch again, but I have lost Zaddy forever! He is a model (damn yes!) so he is contractually obliged to not be on social media sites. You see my twisted fate!

I hope y’all will empathize as I try to search for meaning again in my life. My new best friend reminded me that I was not going to do anything about Zaddy in the first place but now that I have lost him, I dwell in possibility.

PS: Requested by Rivulet*, the person to whom I bitch about online dating. If you are online dating, please have a friend to touch base with, the app will mutate you!

July Edit: Zaddy was a catfish account. Can you believe it?!

M E L O D R A M A


I have told you this in person but I don’t understand why it comes out broken. And on the phone, it’s not the same. And on text, well, you can’t read. Period. See, it is difficult to not be patronizing towards you. I find it infuriating that you don’t understand me. I could be standing with a placard with words in block letters that said, nay, screamed, I love you and you’d say, “yeah, I like you too.” Bitch please, is it the same thing? Are we on the same planet? Why is it difficult to get through you? Sigh. I know you don’t know any other way to be. Hmmm. So I heard that you are doing just fine without me. Earning respect and making money and becoming the life-coach/uncle that you are at 26. Now when I speak to you all your analogies and metaphors are work-related. Even when you talk of love and sex, you talk in finance. I am glad you found your purpose. But then I have to admit to you that that industry, I am going to bring it to dust. Friend, the worker’s revolution demands it! It is good to see you proud, purposeful and passionate. Of course, the world welcomes this, success to those with the emotional depth of a teaspoon. Yeah, yeah, I know I annoy you too. For the longest time, I thought it was my fault, and my burden to bear. Things changed ever so slightly, that it almost affected nothing. There is always somebody else who has to walk into your life to show you the mirror, that is, only if you have the courage to be vulnerable and reveal your madness. Of course, I unraveled. That’s my favourite thing to do! But as soon as I let go of that somebody, I again found myself in the middle of the ocean. My existential pain and me, floating in the void. And at first, it felt like a punishment I didn’t deserve. The sea was clear when he left. It felt like all the hardwork I had done, the hate mails I had written, the pain I had scrawled in diaries, all never left me to dry on the page. The nib just helped it burrow deeper. I had to confront you again. Ask you, what you were doing inside my head after all this time? Ask myself, why am I constantly bargaining with your ghost? I assure you that the ghost has nothing to do with you. But it does a little, doesn’t it? Think about it— I would have written better poems, if it was a bit happier, if you were a bit kinder; if I was a bit grateful. You would not be the face of that feeling of despair knocking me down, seasonally.  I thought that time and distance would erase all the memories. It did. But I am still stuck somewhere in the middle of that void, with nothing to my name. I am ashamed to be that fool with all this courage but no proof to show for all this bravado. It was a lie that I nurtured, wasn’t it? And now, you just want to shake yourself away from this. That may be the root of all this anger, other than the rejection. I rue the day you first looked at me and decided I was a friend. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck. You. If you thought I was so easy to quit. Hmpf. It is embarrassing how your nonchalance is driving me hysterical. I have given up. Now, I pray to your ghost for forgiveness. I pray for it to leave me.  By the way, you needn’t worry. I took all my things that make sounds echoing grief and let it dissipate with some medicines. So I watch the sounds instead of hear them, and it makes me feel free. I have been thinking about what do I want from you that would give me a closure that is acceptable to both of us. I don’t want you to say that you love me; of course, you don’t. I get that. I understand consent. I missed my turn and it is a reality that has shaped who I am at this moment. All I want is for you to say— yes, K, you loved me. The rest I can do without. This madness craves an applause before it can fuck off for good.

1975

I have been grooving to this performance for the past few days!

 

PS: I don’t subscribe to the love as property idea of the song, but it is groovy and full of feels. I was obsessing over the pause he takes in the first verse after each line, and I was like, I want to add my noise to it. because that’s the heaviness, right?! Also, title inspired by Lorde’s album because this is what it feels like. Requested by Rivulet*.

 

Women, I love you forever


I am a panromantic, but I am damned to be a heterosexual.

I know that my love for women is romantic! Because I suffer heartbreaks even in female friendships. I also spend a lot of time maintaining female friendships. I love women.

I love women even if I am in the wrong side of the argument. I want to love and support women to the point of being irrational. To the point where men will say “K, bUt ThAT’s ReVeRsE sExIsM!”. I’ll shrug because this stand is completely emotional.

I love women because I feel gratitude. I have been a judgmental misogynist, trying to not be “girly”. I have been harsh in my judgments of housewives, and career women, of girlfriends and my mother! 😛 But all I have ever received is love and nourishment from women. I have learned to live in this body, thanks to women. I have become a better feminist, because of women. I have grown intellectually and emotionally because of women. I have been mentored by some super-cool women. I have been helped, nursed, guided, understood by women. I have worked, laughed, played, cried with women. If I am a little less uptight, and so much more kinder than I used to be because I was groomed by women. I am just forever indebted to womankind for being happy, colourful and powerful despite the banal, brutal patriarchal structures.

Hence, I have decided to be a benevolent sexist— I am always going to be on the side of the woman, no matter what. Even if there is a chance, that I am supporting someone trying to misuse my trust, I will take that bet. I will be disappointed far less compared to the statistically high trash behaviour that men display and are excused for. Entertain this hypothetical for a minute– suppose, if a man is called out for being a sexual harasser by a woman, when the matter is yet to be decided on, I would take the side of the woman because I really feel that women don’t get support and are not believed easily because there is a level of harm that you will trust, otherwise it is all hysterical imagination. And again, if she was simply trying to falsely frame the guy, I would be disappointed, accept my mistake and let that be. It is not going to hurt me as much as the inverse of this scenario would do.

The inverse being where the woman has been proven to be true, and I took the side of the guy—I have been in these situations— I would hate myself for not being on the woman’s side all along. I hate to imagine that I might still have some remnants of internal misogyny.

But I think men should not be benevolent sexists like I am because when men are benevolent sexists, women don’t exist in any other frame other than fairy-goddess-princess-mother.. So if a man is a sexist, even a benevolent one at that, it is more harmful. For such sexists, if they find a woman who has done something wrong, then that women is the witch-whore-bitch-vamp that deserves whatever ill happens to her! That’s not true, of course! Since men have the structural power where their dissing of a woman hurts woman more, they should just shut up and constantly reflect. I have seen benevolent sexists who are painful to talk to, their love is so conditional to a woman’s virtue, that it really is suffocating to just imagine those standards.

So maybe I am not a benevolent sexist, after all. But it is just easier to wrap up the argument, because it never happens that I can delve into nuance. So it is easier to say that my support for women is irrational, emotional and what about it? 😛 I am aware of the risks when I am taking this stand.

I want women also to make mistakes and then I want to be their left-hand woman. I want women to feel powerful and fight the system, and I want to be their comrade. I want women to punch a guy, and I will be video-shooting that mess! But I want more possibilities for women! And that needs a bit of unconditional support that men have gotten for no good reason for generations.

Womxn, I love you forever!

What is your personal credo?


This writing prompt made me laugh. But this personal credo makes me get stuff done!

A fool proof and mood proof personal credo

Seriously though, I just didn’t have it in me to write another free-association writing piece but here I am. I have to write regularly, that’s what I have decided! So, I tell myself —

You gotta do what you gotta do!

Having a bad day and daily chores sucking the life out of you? Move your ass..

You gotta do what you gotta do!

Your friend asks you why you’re being stupid and you don’t want to explain, mumble that

You gotta do what you gotta do!

The day beckons but you can’t get up, remember —

You gotta do what you gotta do!

A student tells you that they can’t complete the assignment, and you understand their pain but can’t budge because you are pretending to be firm and assertive, you say to them,

You gotta do what you gotta do!

Your mom is hesitating to block people but it will eventually help her to keep her sanity, you tell her —

You gotta do what you gotta do!

Your friend tells you about their kink, you embrace their nasty by saying,

You gotta do what you gotta do!

When you are know the sins of Amazon, but you order from it anyway because of discounts, you tell yourself that to stay afloat..

You gotta do what you gotta do!

A kid asks you for career advice ( and you know you have none to give bcz— kid, you be dreaming in this economy?) and you have to say something hopeful and realistic and open to interpretation, say —

You gotta do what you gotta do!

Somebody is being stupid on the internet, and you tell yourself that there is no point unless you want to entertain yourself by being an ant bully. Give in to the temptation, holler–

You gotta do what you gotta do!

Your friend is idealistic in his head but stuck in safe inertia at a dead-end job, the pep talk is–

You gotta do what you gotta do!

Reason no. 1 to dump that guy–

You gotta do what you gotta do!

I am comfortable with my body hair but why do I still wax. Because–

You gotta do what you gotta do!

When snack attack hits, and your sister gives you a shame-inducing stare, you stare back at the bitch, ‘cause.

You gotta do what you gotta do!

You’re reading me because you love me and well,

You gotta do what you gotta do!

..for love.

PS: Trying this block thing that WP is trying to swing at me.
Nope, it doesn’t save time. You’re welcome!