It felt like Flying Away

In the 19 years and 6 months of my bookish life, I have had some of those nights when I felt alive. When anything and everything seemed possible. When I felt like everything’s right within the delicate seams of the universe.

The night when I saw Ed Sheeran live with was one of them. Eating Rustomjee’s ice cream on a windy winter evening with the salt of the sea in the air and on my lips was another.

The most recent night happened a couple of days ago.

26th January 2016. India’s 67th Republic Day.

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If you ask me if I am spontaneous, I will firmly tell you that I don’t have a single spontaneous bone in my body.

Or I would have.

The night of 26th January was a chilled winter night. I sat on the terrace of my building with a few peers. We were playing Truth or Dare. Nostalgia is much needed at times.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I don’t have much of a filter for my thoughts anyway. So the cringe-worthy memories were absent.

As the clock struck twelve, two things happened.

One, my ass began to freeze because of the icy (Not really. This is Mumbai we are talking about.) floor.

Two, we began to receive calls from the irate parental units. So my friends and I decided to disperse for the day.

All left but three. For once, we could actually see the stars. I couldn’t help but stare at the constellation Orion which is the only constellation I know.

The three of us talked for a bit in the freezing Mumbai air. It was a pleasant change from the perpetual heat and sweat.

A perfect night for a drive, as my friend suggested. The other friend agreed.

I was in a dilemma. I knew that mum would be absolutely pissed if I chose to go. I don’t have an official curfew. But nor do I have a life other than books leaving aside this particular incident.

I so wanted to go. But the urge to conform was very strong.

I decided to actually practice what I preach and flip a finger at conformity. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. No alcohol. No drugs. No cigarettes. Just three people in a car talking about life and shit.

Wild, I tell you.

I love the night. It is soft, velvety and the time for the writer in me to rise. Also, the moon and the stars come out only during the night.

A short ride ended up being an hour long. I fell for my city all over again. Why, you ask.

Because of the endless roads. Deserted but not quite.

Because of the reflection of the sparkling lights on the gentle waves.

Because of the sheer exhilaration of viewing a side of my city that I hadn’t seen before. 

Because I could feel the infinite possibilities in the air and more.

Because of my friend’s magnificent driving skills.

Because I felt like I was living my life for once.

Because I felt like I would die without regrets if I were to die.

Because I could feel my hair whipping around in the wind whenever the windows were down.

Because I felt free.

Because it felt like flying away.

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Nothing but The Perceived Truth

Sometimes I find it difficult to breathe. I probably shouldn’t write this much less post it, lest someone I know will read it and get worried. The likelihood of that happening is pretty darn high as almost everyone I know read my blog.

But I am still going to write about it and even more post it. I lack a sense of self-preservation, don’t I?

Sometimes it gets so difficult to breathe. Not the kind of difficult when you have a blocked nose. More like the panicky kind of difficult that happens when you are lost. Or when your world is spinning out of control.

Is my world spinning out of control?

Not really. It is all okay. I do not exist in the time of the Great Plague or any of the world wars. Now seems to be the best time to live in.

And it is. I’m glad that I exist now. That I get to read all the books I’m reading. I get to watch so many movies; so many TV shows. There is a lot of good music to listen to. I have good friends. A family. If I count all the things I should be grateful for, I won’t ever finish.

But sometimes, it just does not feel enough. I am me. I am this person. But I don’t feel like me. I feel that the real me is trapped somewhere inescapable.

Society tells us to conform to so many things. Right from what to wear, the people we should talk to, what kind food to eat, what to watch, what to read, what to talk to the extent that we are conditioned to think in a certain way.

I used to be perfectly content in this conformity. Good grades, good friends, decent clothes etc. My biggest rebellion was reading books my mum wouldn’t approve of and reading them way beyond my sleep time.

Now, I rebel by buying books whenever I want and not adhering to mum’s book ban. Yeah, I understand that I own too many books- a lot of which I haven’t even read yet. But isn’t it better that I’m spending my money on books than alcohol or drugs?

Another act of rebellion was supposed to be getting inked. I had expected a lot opposition and drama at home. That didn’t happen. Everyone took it quite well. And I’m glad they did. I have no desire that my life should turn out like an episode of Gossip Girl or One Tree Hill.

But I felt a little disappointed. I am not Katniss Everdeen. I understand that but at times, my imagination gets carried away.

Conformity…

Tomorrow India will celebrate it’s 67th Republic Day. The Government adopted the Constitution on this day. In India, we hoist the flag and suddenly start overflowing with patriotism. There is a parade in the capital, activities in schools and colleges, speeches, patriotic songs, and a whole lot of WhatsApp messages and Facebook statuses.

I no longer see the point of it all.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud to be an Indian chick- with my gorgeous brown skin and inborn multilingualism.

But to be told that I am patriotic only if I attend these speeches or sing those songs and do certain things seems a lot like propaganda to me. Propaganda calls for conformity. And I am not a big fan of conformity.

Not in all cases. Not complete obedience.

If I let someone else think for me, what’s the point of living in a democracy?

If I am in a state of complete conformity, then how do I create something unique that will actually be remembered in the years to come?

If I don’t dare to use my brain cells, what’s the point of having them?

This gets me into trouble more times than I care to count.

But I don’t I care.

I don’t give a shit anymore. But the thing is, I have been conditioned to care about what other people think and I can’t help but fear being reprimanded.

This fear leaves me out of breath.

I believe that I have offended enough people already. I think I should shut up now.

Book Blogging Challenge Thingie Edition#2

Remember the reading cum blogging challenge RavenclawSam, Tanvi and I did last year?

I’m sure you don’t. We weren’t very regular about it. The challenge which was supposed to go on for an entire year barely lasted for two months.

Kudos, Mia. Another challenge completed successfully.

Not.

2015 is gone. So is the chance for completing the Book Blogging Challenge Thingie Edition 1.

Never fear, 2016 is here.

So I bring to you-

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BBCT edition 2 comes with some changes.

For starters, my partner in crime will this time be Dee from The Vocal Wallflower.

Last year, Sam and I made reading lists of the books we had already read for each other. Meaning, 12 books read by Sam for me and vice versa.

This year, Dee and I will be reading books that neither of us have read before. So we’ll pick a book that both of us are desperate to read, limit ourselves to a few chapters per day and discuss a lot.

That’s the plan at least.

Dee and I had read Eon by Allison Goodman last year in a similar fashion. It was so so much fun! All the debates and analyses! When a new perspective is added to yours, the results are nothing short of miraculous. Plus she notices things that I don’t and I notice story arcs and motives that she might not.

So for the month of January, we’ll be reading Eon’s sequel Eona.

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We have been planning on reading Eona for a really long time now but being really good at procrastination, we managed to evade the plans.

What better book than Eona to start BBCT?

We’ll be posting our thoughts on the book of the month by the 31st of every month.

I promise you this challenge won’t be left incomplete.

Be a happy potato ^_^

Alan Rickman will be missed

Someone posted a picture on a WhatsApp group saying that Alan Rickman has passed away. At first I thought, it was a hoax but it wasn’t. It is true. Alan Rickman is no more.

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I haven’t seen him in any movies other than the Harry Potters. But the thing is, every Potterhead has extremely strong feelings about Severus Snape, whether positive or negative.

And no one could’ve played Snape better than Alan Rickman.

The entire legion of Potterheads is grieving for him. Our grief unites us across borders, genders, ages and everything else.

That’s thousands and thousands of people mourning in harmony. Imagine the kind of awesome Alan Rickman was to bring so many people together.

I didn’t get my tattoos to not mean them. I understand that he was going to die one day. Just like everyone else will. But that doesn’t stop me from mourning him.

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We are so lucky that a man as talented as Alan Rickman walked our planet. He will be missed.

Always.

I got inked and I love it!

It’s Monday again. I just got done with the Return of the Jedi. I can’t face reality just yet. My mind has officially been blown away.

As space movies go, The Martian or The Interstellar were undoubtedly more technologically advanced. However, the entire Star Wars franchise (yes, including the sequels) has its own distinct charm.

Today, I watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

*happy dances like a maniac*

Last week has been pretty good. I wrote a couple of decent poems, and the talented Netra and I have plans for future collabs. Then they declared the dates for season 6 of Game of Thrones. Just when I thought that it couldn’t get any better, Emma Watson announced her feminist book club called Our Shared Shelves. 

How does she even do it? How does she manage to be such a wonderful person?

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I hope to actually follow the Our Shared Shelves reading list and not you know, not read the books.

Another reason for this wonderful week was that even though it’s just the eleventh day of January, I have completed one resolution for 2016.

I got inked!

I have wanted to get inked for about 4 years now. But my mum was totally against it. She thought I didn’t get the foreverness of a tattoo.

I did get it. So I waited. I waited till I was actually sure of a design. And then when I had decided on one, I waited some more.

Five months later when I was absolutely certain, I got inked. I know I want the design for the rest of my life. I know that 20 years down the line I won’t opt for the removal of it.

Surprisingly, mum too reacted pretty well to the tattoo too. She is still talking to me so I guess she must be okay with it. She said she just wants me to be happy. Thanks, ma!

As for me, I feel more like myself than I ever did before. Does that even make sense?

I feel more capable of doing things. I feel more sure of myself. I like the tattooed me a little more than the plain old me.

The most astounding part of all was the pain though. Or rather the lack of it.

So when I told my family and some friends my decision to get inked, everyone’s first concern was whether I would be able to bear the pain. Their concern wasn’t misplaced. My tolerance for pain is lower than my tolerance for grammatical errors.

But I tightened my imaginary girdle and marched into the tattoo parlour. My mate Geet was with me. I had warned her that I was going to squeeze the life out of her hand, yell and cry maybe.

Then

  • I filled out a form,
  • went into the other room where the tattoos actually get done,
  • decided the position for the tattoo,
  • saw the artist open a brand new packet of needle,
  • insert it in his machine thingy and
  • start.

I breathed in controlling my brain to bear the pain…sort of a zen mode type thing (I thought about David Tennant).

But it didn’t hurt.

I was supposed to yell, cry and feel brave.

But there was hardly any pain. Just the same level as an injection or a blood test. That’s it.

Dude, my eyebrows hurt more when I get them done.

There went my bravery down the anti-climatic drain.

But, I got inked so it doesn’t really matter. Getting inked was the important thing and that happened. So it’s all okay.

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Existence is to remind me that I exist, that I have a life and I should actually do things with it instead of waiting for things to happen. If I want to travel, I should travel. If I want to eat an ice cream, I shouldn’t obsess over cavities.

Oblivion is to remind me that all men must die and all stories must end. Yep, valar morghulis.

Do you have a tattoo (or tattoos)? What does your tattoo mean? Did getting inked hurt?

 

Poetry and Swearing

Do you know the feeling when you feel a sudden surge of creativity after months and months of a writer’s block?

I felt that glorious feeling of victory just last night. I was working (new job. I create content.) and then I felt stifled. I wanted to write something that satisfied me. Something creative. Something true. Something more. So I tried.

It was a struggle at first. I ended up with a poem about that very feeling I talked about and showed it to my mate, Mallika (check out her new blog). While showing it to her, I was very sure of its crappiness and stupidity. So very sure. But to my amazement, she actually liked it. But then again it was 12am. Who knows?

Then we spent some time coming up with titles. We still haven’t found a suitable one. A perfect title is of the utmost importance.

So, in a moment of frustration, I declared that the poem will be called “Potato”.

No, as much as I love potatoes, I still haven’t quite managed to write an ode to them. And in the future now, when I do not feel so frustrated, I have decided against calling that particular poem ‘potato’.

Mallika then came up with hash tags for the poem (‘potato’) because Mallika loves hash tags. #Brown ended up as a new independent poem.

I swore in it. I used two forms of the word ‘fuck’.

In real life, I admit I swear a lot. By a lot, I mean I am a regular potty- mouth. Not so much around my mum though, for the obvious reasons.

So when I showed her the poem I wrote called #brown, the only remark she had was why did I feel the need to swear. She felt I should know better than to use ‘fuck’.

I don’t agree with my mum.

Yes, fuck is a swear word. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not a part of language. In fact, it is a huge part of colloquial language which is more widely used than proper formal English.

Plus, there are certain emotions that can be expressed only with swearing.

Imagine a Quentin Tarantino film sans swearing.

Imagine the famous dialogue from Pulp Fiction,

English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?

without the usage of ‘motherfucker’. Will it portray the rage felt by Samuel L Jackson’s character, Jules and his wrath then? Will the guy he was pointing his gun at would have been as intimidated as he was?

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I think not.

I don’t swear in every poem I write. But sometimes, it just becomes necessary to express the intensity of what I feel. To express my anger. To express my frustration.

And isn’t swearing a better way of expressing frustration than taking a gun and shooting about a dozen innocent people?

Moreover, when my mum in an ashamed and displeased manner , asked me to quit swearing in all future poetry, she was in a way taking away my freedom of expression. Repression of art is something I can’t really tolerate.

It is art that enables us to think beyond the ordinary. If we repress that, we are essentially repressing a new, unique thought process.

Even the repression of swearing effectively manages this.

I’m not saying swearing is the way to go. I would never use the word ‘whore’ as an insult. Same goes for ‘cunt’. But sometimes, swearing is expressing.

What do you think? Is swearing a sin? Even in artistic contexts? Or artists should be given that much of creative liberty? What about in the daily life?

Tell me in the comments below.

World of Books

So the amazing Netra and well, I collaborated once again.

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Hello, it’s me

I couldn’t resist! All the hello jokes floating around, well, they have got to me. Brilliant, brilliant song though.

It’s 2016 now. Another year has gone by. Blah blah blah.

I have been trying to evaluate 2015 but I can’t seem to decide what I feel about that particular year. Terrible things did happen but so did good things. Such is life, I suppose.

So, finally, I’ve decided to concentrate on the present and not obsess over the past (all the best for that, Mia. All the fucking best). Which brings us to 2016.

2016. New year. New books. New movies. New things. Resolutions.

Sometimes I don’t get the concept of resolutions. Nor do I get my inclination to resolve at the start of every year. I think, it’s basically an excuse for self-improvement.

Yes, resolutions are almost never completed. But maybe one year, far into the future, I’ll make a resolution and go through with it till the very end.

(Hope it is the recurrent one about losing weight)

In 2016, I resolve to-
1) BLOG MORE. BLOG REGULARLY. BLOG BASICALLY. JUST BLOG AND NOT ABANDON DIARY OF AN INTROVERTED SCHMUCK.

It’s all in caps lock so that it hits me hard whenever I end up rereading the posts. Which I do quite often. Narcissism rules.

2) Work on a book.
Now my aim is not to get published. While that would be an additional benefit, I want to just immerse myself in something I’m passionate about. Obsess about something productive. And if I get the satisfaction of having written about 50k words by the end of it, why the hell not?

3) Join the gym.
I want to not be the fat girl anymore. I have accepted myself but I want to be able to wear whatever hell I want to without feeling shy or conscious.

4) Work my way through the IMDb top 250 list.
So far, I’ve seen 30 movies. Hope to see at least a 100 more by 2017.

5) Make a decent lasagna and eat it.
I have lied, comrades. For it is not that I suck at cooking. How can you suck at something you’ve never even tried? So I’m going to go big or go home.

Lasagna, it is.

6) Get inked. No matter what my mum says, tattoos are artsy and beautiful. And I  want loads of them. I have my first two designs ready, too. Now I’m just trying to convince the ‘rents.

7) Read War and Peace. When I bought the book a few months ago, a friend laughed at me and said that it is a book most people never actually read. Well, I’m going to.

I also have collab plans with my mate Dee from The Vocal Wallflower. I hope that works out.

Bienvenue 2016. Don’t be a bitch to the human race.

Also, I’m alive. Just in case, you were wondering.

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