Category: musings

Reflecting 

​”Reflecting” 29.07.16 

Visiting cities like Kolkata, feels like entering a time-machine.  

Michele Obama’s recent words ring in my mind, when I come across monuments like these. 

“Built by slaves.” 

As awe inspiring is their magnificence, so heart wrenching are  the foundations of power and subjugation on which they stand.

  A constant reminder of what we were, what we became, what we are now and how we have transformed as a people and as a nation. 

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Ma

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You told me I was beautiful.
Ma you made me strong.
Why do I now think,
That somewhere you were wrong.

You made me humble.
Ma you made me kind.
Why do I not remember,
When there are storms in my mind.

You made me gentle.
Ma you made me appreciate life.
I wish I had remembered,
Before I found the knife.
-Fictionatrix

Being a Woman

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The feminist scholars have for decades tried to make the other half understand how patriarchy hurts them both.

The dichotomy between emotional and rational, weak and strong isn’t as clearly defined as they’d like it to be.

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And thus as Foucault says, these bodies need to be disciplined. Systems of power create docile bodies.

I have to look a certain way, behave in a certain manner to reiterate my feminity.

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Have a soft voice, always cross your legs, shave, wear tight fitting feminine clothing, obey.

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The same goes for men as well.
My teenage brother stopped writing poetry because his classmates called him a pussy.

A dear friend of mine keeps saying that he is “not gay”, because he likes soft music and cuddling and thus people consider it otherwise.

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If you know the history behind the labels, being called a pussy, dick, gay, lesbian, or woman, wouldn’t hurt you.

Because you know that those are perfectly fine functional humans/body parts.

However, society makes them think of those terms and thus those people as ‘inferior’.

It is basically a binary between “men” and “not men”.

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This women’s day, I would like to remind you beautiful ladies (and handsome gents) out there that it is okay.
It is okay to be yourself.
To have the choice to define yourself.

No one has the right to take that away from you.

Keep your head held high, and give two hoots to the world!

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You are your own true self before you are reduced to any label.

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I spent my entire existence feeling terrible about my body.
I belittled myself, hurt myself, did all sorts of things.

I would diet, starve, run miles, do yoga. But nothing ever made me. look beautiful
(To be read as beautiful and thin).

I internalised this distorted version of beauty so much that I could never see myself the same way again.
But only worse, day after day.

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“Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fattest of them all?”
“It is you and only you the great blob of fat.”

It is only now, after reading Foucault, Judith Butler and scores of other scholars that I realise that it is me what makes me unique.

I cannot find happiness by trying to become someone else.

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This reductionist understanding of ourselves and of others is harmful. It makes us stereotype and generalise.
And that distorts the understanding, clouds the subjectivity.

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One should have the freedom to define themselves.
The fear of judgement from society stops us from being ourselves.

The different modes of self expression get restricted.
And you get boxed up as someone that you are not, and don’t identify with.

So don’t stick to those labels.
Have the courage to define what you want to be and who you want to be associated with.

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It is you that makes ‘you’. Be proud of yourself because there can be no other.

Learn to love yourself, and make yourself the person you had always wanted to be.

I am trying to make right choices and become someone I could be proud of. Its not easy, but for now its a start!

Hugs!

Smile- Late Night Thoughts

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Smile for that is all what you can do. Smile for what has happened, both the good and the bad.

Smile for what is yet to come. Both the good and the bad.

Smile at the face of triumph. Or at the feet of defeat.

Smile and welcome life as it comes to you, whether as a burst of sunshine or as torrential rainfall.

Smile for every thing and anything. Smile for the joys and for the tears. Smile for the pains and the fears. Smile when you win and even when you lose.

Smile for life is worth smiling. And it will be so only when to take the first step and smile.

For there will be days and times when the last thing you can do is smile.
When it seems that the world is bringing you down.
Orq maybe a part of you is bringing yourself down.
The first thing you should do, can do, is smile.
Smile and move on.

For when you smile,
You light little embers of hope in your heart.
And if you ever get lost,
those little embers will always be enough to guide you home. . .

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– Fictionatrix

Chasing Wanderlust

Wanderlust is the feeling, the unsettling urge, to travel to far off lands, to experience newer things, getting away from the rutt of life.

I personally advocate travelling to everyone. Yet this heightned focus on wanderlust irks me a little. The society we live in has become systematic-atomistic individuals engaged in mechanistic activities. As Karl Marx had famously claimed- Capitalism has Alienated Man.

We are all busy, and rightly so, in making a living. Day in and Day out, like guinea pigs in a laboratory, we keep running, running, running, no where.

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Sunset from my window!

Hence the urge to run away.
We have forgotten to see the wonder in things- hence the unsetlling urge to get somewhere else.
Our cities are like cobwebs of concrete and smoke. Yet inbetween those threads of despair, you will find little wonders, if only you keep your eyes open.

For example,
a few days back, an old farmer from Rajasthan was my co-passenger in the city bus
(DTC for the people who know)
As a matter of habbit
(which I am trying to inculcate)
I asked him about his life.
He said he was around his late 20’s when India got independent, but he doesn’t know his age. (Somewhere around 80-85)
In the process of knowing more,
I happend to ask him how he managed by himself.
He smiled and pointed across the aisle where his wife sat
and said –Maari beendini hi maari laathi hai”
(Translation-My wife is my walking stick)
Then he looked at her with such an expression of revere. And she quietly blushed and looked away.
This couple has been married for 60 years!

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They were a shy couple, and were a little scared of posing for a picture. The husband lovingly suggested that I take a picture of his wife, as she still looks as lovely as she did on her wedding day.

We are so used to running, that we seldom stop. Running without time, running without oxygen, running without company, running for ourselves, without ourselves, from ourselves.

I say Stop!
Breathe, look around a little.
We clog our ears with earphones and listen to tunes to drown away the noise of the city. But isn’t that noise of the city a part of what peoples dreams are made of? As more and more of us strive to reach the city with its twinkling lights and wonders to make a life, those who have made one, or are in the process, are aching to run away.

I want everyone to be blessed with experience the joy of travelling far and wide. But I also don’t believe in putting off happiness to a destination. I have heard it so a thousand times over- I will be happy as soon as I leave this place. Why?

As cliche’d as it sounds; One can be happy wherever they are. As happiness is a state of mind. Chasing happiness is a race we can never win.

As much as we chase wanderlust- Look  closely around you-There is wonder everywhere. When was the last time you stayed up and watched the Sunrise, chatted up an old friend, or made a new one? When was the last time you helped a stranger, or took a bike ride on the highways.Immersed yourself in the petrichor, felt the soothing late evening summer breeze, smelled that addictive aroma of Diesel/Gasoline, Ate from a roadside stall, enjoyed the music that is formed from the incessant honking, or followed a group of marching ants?

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A band out on an adventure!

I know city life is tough, and often in finding a life, in carving a niche we tend to forget ourselves. But you don’t need to run far and wide, and chase mirages trying to find yourself. All you have to do is look within!

P.S.- Look a little closely around you and you will find humour in everyday things.
For example- How yesterday I happened to come across Lord Shiva enjoying the city summer afternoons.

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I was in the bus!

I hope you get to experience little wonders in everyday life.

(All pictures are orginal, from a Micromax Canvas A1)

(I am trying to capture little miracles in my photography, things that often people tend to miss.
Incase you have recently experienced  something wonderful in the rutt of life, do share your experience. I would love to hear about it)

– Fictionatrix

Coffee Love

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Here is coffee my muse posing for a photograph

Every night of my existence seems like a batlle. Even after the stipulated  hours of sleep, I wake up exhausted. Often panting. I run from myself.

But as the daylight appears, its time to face myself. Again.
This monotonous cycle should seem routine now. But every struggle is different. And takes in more of my energies.

I am sitting in my classroom, blasting music in my ears, to drown out the sounds of my peers. They always seem filled with excitement, the latest movies, songs, clothes or crushes.
Sometimes, I wonder how come I ended up to be so different from the people I call my own.
They see me as the silent psychopath. And I dont mind afterall their mental picture limits my human contact with them.
Win-win situation.

The only solace that I have found in this monotonous existence is in coffee.

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I had heard and read of drowning one’s sorrows with Alcohol. And in my desperation I confess I did indeed try to drown my sorrows. However, instead of drowning my sorrows, I was the one drowning. Alcohol seems to further my thoughts than to dull them. It reduces my conscious mind, and my arch enemy- the subconscious takes over.

But coffee is different. I like my coffee, like I see myself. Bitter and Dark. The only thing I look forward to in a day is that mug of coffee.

I take my coffee hot, boiling even. The warm liquid slithers down my throat, I can feel its passage through my oesophagus. Its warmth somehow recharges the cold edifice I have for a body. It seems to me as though my heart begins pumping blood only after I have my morning coffee.

I am not an addict, and this is not my confession. Rather I am a lover, and this is my love song. Coffee has helped me, given me companionship, been with me through sorrows and joys. It helps me control my anxieties and prohibits me from being impulsively stupid.

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And perhaps I need to Thank coffee. For it has indeed saved me. Be it from deadlines, to exam anxiety. Or from sleep hangovers right before important lectures. It has also saved me,often from the consequences of killing my entire class when they ask the silliest of questions and thereby prolong lectures.

So thankyou honey! I promise to be all that you want me to be. To be yours to the best of my abilities.

Moreover, I love coffee in all her forms. Be it the expensive, commercialised Starbucks version, the fatafat street Filter coffee, the homely brew or the hostel wali electric kettle version. (This is what I live on these days) Coffee is my salvation. My cup of paradise.

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One of the most expensive, yet the most heavenly cup of coffee I have had so far. @ Le chambre Rouge~Puducherry

My coffee love is pretty obvious now. Although I am not a very loyal lover Sometimes I tend to slip up and enjoy a cup of Tea as well. ( I own a great collection of exotic Teas too! Ssshhh.. don’t let her know! 😉 )

Sometimes, I wonder if I would like to share this experience with someone. Maybe some day. Untill then, its me, my chaos and my coffee.

Hence, the name of this blog. It is difficult for me to express myself. After 10 years of suppressing the horrors and grief, letting it all out is not easy. But expression is a part of recovery. 

Therefore, I envision a cup of coffee next to me when I write. It need not exist literally next to me, but its metaphorical presence gives a sense of peace and quiet. Which I lack the most in life. Hence, I write “Whilst sipping coffee.”

Slurp!

(I raise my virtual cup of coffee in salutation towards you dear reader,the fact that I focus on you whilst being in the company of coffee displays my appretiation and gratitude)
Cheers!

(Do you have a favourite beverage? Do you have strong feelings of love for it? 😉 How do you take your coffee? and What inspired the name of your blog? Let me know! )

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– Fictionatrix

2 a:m Thoughts – Unmasked

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My mind takes on a different vibe after midnight.
It lays its guard down. It unmasks itself

I read somewhere that the Japanese say that every human wears three masks.
1. Infront of people
2. Infront of friends and family.
3. Infront of themselves

No need to wonder which mask I fear.

My inner most fears, my demons, all memories and experienced that I have been suppressing
tend to tug at the hems of my consciousness.

The night envelopes me, drowns me, covers me.
Till I can see nothing,
Till I hear the silence.

Everynight becomes a battle,
And my mind is the battlefield.
I wake up exhausted, and float through another day of existence.

And then comes another night. And another battle.

I wonder what it feels like to fall asleep, peacefully.
Without effort. Since sleep evades me, I have enough time to wonder.

(Do you wonder about such things too? What keeps you up at night?)

– Fictionatrix