Friday, February 22, 2008

Slaves to love

Are we such slaves to our need for love? All of us? Why do I see such strong intelligent women around me fall prey to this disease. All around me. They stay in abusive relationships, they take all kinds of rubbish, they go to such extents just to please someone, just to hear the words, I love you, or not even that. To feel needed.

Why is it so? Today we have all the necessities to build and to live a life self sufficient. And yet we need depend and be depended upon. Its not a financial need, its not security any more. Is it our motherhood instincts that prompt us into these things. Poor guy, he needs me, he needs my help, he can change only if I am with him... and so starts the spiral down to hell.

They use us, dont they. When they have the need for us, physical, psychological, spiritual, support or just friendship, they use us. Then they are there to wipe our tears, not a drop is shed, when they are all over us. They are there to hold us and to make us feel needed. But when they have gotten over that phase, then starts the mental break down. Cry them a river, they wont turn to you. They wont ask you even when you say you are down. They will cover the guilt by taking you out once in a while and buying you stuff, and there are good phases when you think nothing can be better than this. You go back to where you started, before you built all the defenses around you. And then the cut comes again. Isnt it familiar? Are they all like that?

I have seen women become progressively depressed with the situation. Sometimes they break the relationship. They walk off, after giving chance after chance for him to change. They are the wise ones, they are the lucky ones. The ones who cling on, they are in for trouble. What do they do, when they know they can get out of it, and yet things are out of hand. They try to send messages. Usually starting with harmless ones, tears, screams, bouts of madness... just to get the word across. Then it becomes a dangerous game. Throwing the glass at the wall to using the glass against her self. "I will hurt myself if you dont listen to me... I will do something to myself if you keep acting like an ass". All a game, a very very cruel dangerous game... a mind numbing painful game. They get used to that too.

I have read somewhere that a woman takes shit till she can take. Which means that we all have our threshholds.
One of my friends had to end up in hospital before she started divorce proceedings.
Another friend broke her engagement because he had already started abusing her and her family on the phone after drinking bouts.
Another acquaintance just left because of the loneliness, with children and a never-present husband. She did it with the support of another man... who she is in love with, but wait till they clock some time together.
Yet another took a bottle full of sleeping pills... and survived. She went back to him.
Another hanged herself with her husband and son in the adjacent room.
None an exaggeration. All true.

Have you heard of the woman who tried the way of suicide multiple times, always surviving? Pills one time, slashed wrists one time, jumping off stairs another... never good enough to kill her, all messages, all calls for help, for attention in a world that did not care. She was Diana... a princess, a beauty, an icon. And yet...

That is not to say men dont go through anything. To be fair to them, I have heard of many a man being hounded by women with issues. It starts with small jealousies... but men can get out of it easier. They dont have esteem issues like women have. They are not needy or clingy like us. Some amount of guilt may make them stick around for some time, but they flee soon enough. Most do, at least. For those who cant, welcome to the club.

Is it any use saying we need to change. Our basic natures wont change. We will not learn. We make the same mistakes again and again. Our needs wont change. Our desire to be desired wont change. We have to be mothers to the poor men in our lives. We have to stay around no matter what they say, no matter what they do. When they run away, we wait, patiently, silently... for the time when they will need us once more and come running back, tongues out, tails wagging.

Monday, February 18, 2008

30 Things To Do before 30.

1. Learn to drive a car- check.
2. Own a car- half check.
3. Own my house- Dream on.
4. Marry- check.
5. Have my first child- check.
6. Settle down in a job- check.
7. Wear a boot and stilletos- check.
8. Get a business suit- check.
9. Know what true love feels like- check.
10. Rearrange my life, list all birthdays anniversaries and names, make everything work like clockwork- no comment.
11. Finish my MA in English- I can only say I started 3 years back.
12. NGO work- I tried for sometime, but its not a "check" yet.
13. Start my novel- Yeah, right!!!
14. Read all the books I have bought over the years- No time.
15. Become a culture vulture, start visiting music festivals and theatre performances- ditto.
16. Get my finances on track- no comment.
17. Search out Promita Adhikary, my college buddy who went underground- I wish.
18. Get ego out of the window, kill them with kindness- Still at it.
19. Mature- Ditto.
20. Start something, a business, something, anything...- no comment.
21. Visit Paris.
22. Learn calculus, I mean really learn it.
23. Read Bangla, at least some of the classics.
24. Finish Joyce's Ulysses.
25. Learn to play the sitar- oh well.
26. Learn to play the piano- ditto.
27. Have only sexy underwear- ;)
28. Learn to dance.
29. Learn to cook a mean biryani.
30. Love like there is no tomorrow- check check check... No really, this one should be- Learn to speak French, even if broken- C'est la vie, mon amour.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sorry is the hardest word?

Australia has apologized to all indigenous Australians some days back. For the atrocities they faced, for their land that was grabbed and subsequently their livelihood, et al.

Is an apology enough to heal a race? Maybe it is, because the wronged can start to forgive, and start to live once again. Its not about what is lost, but what can be saved by the power of the human mind.

Recently a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi was forced to resign from a peace institute of the University of Rochester (a department he himself co-founded), for his comments on the Jews and the holocaust. Apart from saying that the Jews can overplay the holocaust for sympathy he also put this question forward- how long can the whole world feel sorry for what happened to the Jews.

How long does the whole world have to be sorry? Forever, is my guess. Its not a question of how many millions died or suffered ... its a question of every individual who lived through it or died in it.
Its about every single child who went to the gas chamber because she/he was too little to work.
Its about every toddler swung against the wall with their feet, or hunted down from basements to be shot.
Its about every mother who had to see their little ones die of starvation or take them to their death in their own arms.
Its about every grandfather who was taken away never to be seen again.
Its about every father who had to live, and work at a crematorium knowing he is burning the bodies of his wife and children.

How long do we have to be sorry??? Is that even a question?

Some groups in India wanted England to apologize for their centuries of rule on this land. If England has to start apologizing for their colonial past, heaven help them. And while we are at it, why not ask the Central Asians (Babur was a Turk from near Iran) to apologize their role in ruling the land, or well, the Aryans who were the first to come and depose the original Indians, the Indian aborigins... who we knew in the last century as the caste-less... or at best the lowest caste, and who we protest against nowadays because they are taking away our medical seats and government jobs (due to the Indian system of seat reservation for the downtrodden and economically deprived). Wait, that might mean, I would have to apologize too.

Speaking of India, we find apologizing below our stature. The Gujarat riots in 2002- nope. The anti sikh riots after Indira Gandhi's assassination- it was even played down by the then prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, who is reported to have commented- "When a big tree falls, the earth is bound to shake". The apology for the carnage did come through in 1998 (the riots took place in 1984), by his wife, Sonia Gandhi.

Going global again, what about the indegenous Americans- the (un-original) Indians. You dont even have to read anything to know what happened. Watch a couple of westerns, or read about Hiawatha and Pocahontas, and you get the drift. Any apology? None officially.

Africa called for slavery apology in 2001 from Europe and America... nope. White trash dont say sorry. They sometimes "express regret" for the atrocities they unleashed on most of the African and some of the Asian countries, they wont take the leap from regret to apology.

If we start asking for apologies, I wonder where it will end. From my friend who forgot to ask me why I wasnt well yesterday, to Kenya's women, from Bhopal tragedy victims to Vietnam, from the Rangoon monks to the to the Tutsi-s in Rwanda, from Jade Goody's racial slur at Shilpa Shetty, to Darfur's millions of refugees, from a kiss in India, to a race almost wiped out by a madman in Cambodia.

The human race is capable of great good and great evil. And the evil does not drive us completely mad only because of the good which still exists in us... in all of us. May the good always find a way to win. Amen.


Like a land destroyed
Chunks of concrete, shards of metal
Strewn all around.
Dark smoke
Black, black sky
The air hangs like an unwashed shrowd
Smelling of sulfur
Reeking, reeking of death.

Hearts break like that...

But what is this...
Is it a flower, a tiny rose bud
From this barren land born
Can she make it live again?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Written long ago.

Go and take a walk on the white and gray beach
feel every grain of sand as it slips and slides between your toes
look behind to see your footprints fill with salt water
leave them where you know the tide will wash them away.

Hold her hand tight if you want to walk with her
she may be wild like the wind that ruffles your hair
she is beautiful like the twilight, but soon darkness comes
she may be fleeting like the tide, like the day, like time.

Her smile is like the early morning sunshine
her tears like the million stars twinkling in the night sky
she touches with her fingertips like a cool summer breeze
her love is a tempest, a whirlwind, her love is the blue sea.

Build sand castles but soon they will crumble and fall
find kingdoms in the clouds above your head
do you see shapes of islands on the blue horizon
do you try to hold on to the sand or surf in your folded hands?