PRINCESS OF THE FAR-AWAY LAND


I had seen her before, and very often too; she was so beautiful back then… I wondered what went wrong with her over time. We used to be friends, Shadow and I. She was quite possessive of me. We used to spend hours together, locked in a room; she would tell me of things and I would listen, then I would speak, but she would hush me… She was the talkative one, of course. It has been a while since she had last visited me, and now when I saw her sitting on my bed holding in her hand an old photograph of the two of us together, I couldn’t help but pity her.

Her fair skin was ash grey and her luscious and thick locks were reduced to the likes of the weak strands of a broken rope. I took the photograph from her hands that once held welcoming warmth but were now ice cold. I looked at her; she averted her eyes from me, they were brimming with tears. I sat across her on the floor and looked at the photograph.

I was in my teens then, maybe 16 or 17 years old. She was the same age. I stood under a street lamp; the picture was clicked by a friend in the holiday time. It was one of the many pictures where Shadow stood next to me like she used to, and made me feel ‘not-so-alone’. Her arm was around my neck and we stood really close, as though we were one. It was our first photo together.

I looked back at her now, and observed her for a while. She was never so quiet. She always talked to me, speaking of the far-away land she came from and how beautiful it was there. She told me of the ways to get there and promised me I’d be loved there. I tried so often to go along with her, just run away from all the people I knew, but each time someone intervened and stopped me. They scolded me and some tried explaining why leaving for the far-away land wasn’t good, all while she stood in the corner of the room, waiting to comfort me once they left. Everyone conveniently ignored her, as though she was invisible.

I looked now, at her hands. Her fresh skin had dried up and scaled. The scars on her hands were fresh and the every now and then a drop of blood would ooze out from between the clots that were just starting to form. She was a princess in her far-away kingdom, but she chose to stay with me and love me for what had become of me over the years. I accepted her friendship, but she wasn’t content. She would often walk in on me when I showered and admire my body – her possession.

She told me she loved my curves, scars and all, but her favourite were my breasts. She wanted to love me. I didn’t love her as such, but she was the closest I had to friend or lover, so I let her love me. I sat motionless as she kissed me one night, her palms pressed against my chest, and it was as though I had tasted a piece of heaven. It was too strong a feeling for me to feel again and I was more than glad when Gary had walked in on us.

He came quickly to tear us apart and help me breathe. He sat with me all night after, and spoke to me of what Shadow had been doing so far to me. It didn’t sound as pleasant as it felt and I looked at her, standing in the dark corner of the room. She was crying, guilty red elixir pouring out of her eyes, onto her face, and staining the carpet below. That was the last time I had seen her.

Coming back to the present, I saw the familiar tears of blood and hushed her. We had a lot of catching up to do, but this time I did the talking. I told her how Gary took care of me after she left and how, after a few years we started dating and had a baby boy before we finally got married and settled down together. She just nodded. Later, she stood up, and without saying a word, walked out of the door. She seemed like she couldn’t bear her own weight anymore. She was slouching and almost dragging her feet in order to move.

Although she hasn’t come back to me since, I still feel her around, like when I walk under the trees alone at night; I know she is hiding in one of them, looking down at me from beneath the branches, following me one step at a time. I see her in my dreams too, but she doesn’t speak anymore. She isn’t the voice in my head and she doesn’t speak of the far-away land anymore, although I know she will keep her promise of taking me with her one day.

She will come down in my bedroom and lock the doors shut before she continues where she had left last. She will be as radiant as ever, and so charming; she will straddle me and kiss me again, her palms will press against my chest and she will come closer, lifting up my shirt and with it parts of me that I have long forgotten. She will love me and as she comes down and kisses my heart, it will turn calm and when I am at peace, we will travel together to the far-away land.

HANDICAPPED AT EIGHTEEN


Look, I am at the turning point now,
and although this turn is sharp,
I think I’ve crossed this point before;
I’ve stumbled down this scarp…

I’ve hurried down the hillside,
and bruised my knees on the way,
I fallen more than once, indeed;
I’m clumsy! What to say?

I wonder what’s so special,
that this day is long awaited;
I feel not too different,
than before we celebrated…

I feel no older by the hour,
neither do I feel wiser,
I am just as melancholic as was,
and wear the same old visor,

I am allowed drive now,
but I’ve been doing that for years!
Oh sure, I am the ‘big girl’;
it doesn’t culminate my fears…

I’m growing, that is all,
still learning how to speak;
I’m choosing all the words,
that do not make look so weak!

I’m spending time improving,
my skills of procrastination;
I’m still working on my image, now,
in the process of transformation…

I’m still prioritizing, can’t you see,
all the feelings that I hold?
I’m placing them in boxes,
that of silver, lead and gold!

I’m the same, I haven’t changed,
from the person I was last night!
It’s no big deal, being eighteen;
it isn’t quite the delight!

The trouble, in fact, has just begun,
for you have now been trapped!
Not a kid, you, nor adult,
just differently handicapped!

RUM LOLA RUM


Have you ever had the good fortune of being the hated ‘other’ in a classroom? Well, not as hated as hated would be, but over-liked, and not yet liked or loved; in other words, the ‘useful’ or ‘responsible’. Everyone in the classroom will approach you when they need something, like notes, or the syllabus, or proxy attendance, or some other useless stuff, but no one actually cares about you or your opinion. Everyone knows you, but you aren’t ‘popular’. I doubt you have a single friend; every day you eat lunch all by yourself!

Well, in a class like this, people are nice to you as long as you provide for their needs. Put forth your opinion and the mob of 43 to 90 odd selfish dementors swoop down and surround you, ready to suck out from within you your soul.

I happen to be the hated ‘other’ in my classes – all of them, literally.

It doesn’t pose much trouble to me, for neither do I really care about what others think of me, nor do I prefer hanging out with people. The only issue I have, for some ridiculous reason, is the difference of opinion we have regarding our teachers; or teacher, rather. A particular teacher, whose classes I really enjoy, happens to be the one these creatures dislike, if not hate. I know she hates them; they annoy the life out of her!

Well, this teacher, she is young and has an excellent taste in most things. (Note that these are my observations speaking.) I personally like her style of dressing, preference of movies, love for words and a passion for teaching. Every day, she sits in our classroom and curses, but it is not so with other classes. I can say this confidently for I am in two of her classes. The students in one of these classes annoy her, as I have mentioned, and in the other class, if they do show up, they usually nod off.

I have seen her in both the classes, and she is an amazing teacher! She knows what she is talking about and does it passionately. When you hear her talk about a particular topic, you hear her walk into it. I think she’ll make a good speaker… She has a good voice too.

Unfortunately for me, I never could talk to her freely, being the hated ‘other’ who would like to save her soul from the dementors that seem so harmless, but are everywhere. This is one thing I have regretted for a while now. I want to get to know her as a person – not as a teacher who is hated by the rest of the class because she does her job so well. Many of my good friends are as old as her or nearing her age and so I feel I will be able to make a good friend in her. But alas, I’m losing out on the opportunity every time it knocks my door.

If opportunity was a little advanced and called me on my cell-phone instead of knocking the door, I could actually check my call log and see all those missed calls, call back, and maybe make it up to her; or is it a him? Well, I never opened the door, so how would I know, right?

In an attempt to invite the opportunity, I befriended my teacher on Facebook. It was a start alright. Later, I did nothing about it. I got busy with the college and the studies and exams, but she remained at the back of my head. After finishing the first paper, which was hers, I was waiting for a friend, and as people do to pass time, was busy with my phone. I had no idea what to do, so I was checking my phone-book. Yes, I do that. I check m phone-book from time to time, updating it and what not. I’m a boring person.

Now, the perks of having a smartphone include that you can forever be connected to several different Social Medias, or your e-mail, if you are as old-fashioned as I am, or some random website that provides you with an application compatible with your smartphone software. I have, in my phone, an option to synchronize my phone-book with Facebook.

So, as I was scrolling down to the very end of my phone-book list, waiting for this friend to arrive, I happened to see my teacher’s name in the list. Curious, I clicked on it, for I hadn’t even bothered to actually check the ‘about’ section on her profile yet, and there I saw a jewel. A sucker for words that I am, and a lover of blogs and peoples thoughts, I saw a link to her blog.

Now, talk about ‘bad-timing’, my friend showed up right when I thought I had found something interesting to pass my time with. Anyhow, I wasn’t going to leave it at that! I went back home, and instead of studying, spent the entire day going through her blog.

Stalker? No.

The good thing about blogs, of good bloggers, the one who write because they love to write, is that it is a reflection of the writer. And she is a good blogger! I read a few of her posts and pages – a wonderful experience! Being able to read a post and having it relate to you so well that you can actually see what she is writing about, and no, I don’t mean ‘imagine’. I know what she means when she refers to the flyover over the far end of the ground, I know what she means when she talks about broken chairs in a room – I have been to that room.

Reading something and realising that it is but a painting of the very same things you see and touch every day is magical. It gives you goose-bumps. Reading something beautiful and smelling in it the smell of the very air you breathe every day is an experience that cannot be put into words. You step into the shoes of another and live their life through unorganized alphabet that is a word – a thread in the fabric of the story they have woven so perfectly.

If I was to do something good in this month, it would be letting this teacher know that she inspires me, her words inspire me, I enjoy her classes; I find pieces of me in her writings and the only thing that comes to my head when I see her these days is ‘Rum Lola Rum’.

PS: I stole your blog theme.

THE AGNOSTIC CULTURE


This is an essay I submitted as an assignment to my professor. Surprisingly, I scored a 9 on 10 for these 300 odd words that I wrote in a fifteen minute break just a few hours before the deadline!

The term culture is often confused with the religious practices of an individual. What, then, would be the culture of an agnostic individual or of one who is an atheist?


‘Culture’, as defined by Edward Tylor, is a complex whole of knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, customs and any other capabilities acquired by an individual as a member of the society. B Malinowski states that it is a handiwork of man among which he achieves his ends.

Based on these definitions, we can say that every individual has a culture irrespective of whether or not he/she has a religion that he/she follows.

Culture is ‘acquired by an individual as a member of the society’ and can thus be called a social trait through which an individual ‘achieves his ends’. It is influenced by the society we grow up in and is a practice that we follow unconsciously.

I was born in a Hindu family and grew up in a Muslim community, and had friends of different faiths. As I was surrounded by people of many different ‘cultural’ backgrounds, i.e., they had their own practices and ideologies (religious and/or non-religious) that influenced me at a young age, I grew up to be an agnostic and picked certain practices from each of the different cultures I came across.

My culture is, therefore, what I call the ‘Agnostic Culture’, and is influenced by many different religious beliefs, personal ideologies, social and scientific knowledge; it is created by me. However, there are certain aspects to culture that cannot be controlled by the individual. Law, for example, is a social body that everyone has to follow regardless of their culture.

The fact that I have created my own culture (a set of ideologies, beliefs and practices that I follow) means that anyone can create their own culture at an individual level.

Culture is also influenced by the geographic location of an individual, for example, the kind of clothes we wear and the food we eat, and can thus change over time.

INSPIRE YOUR INSPIRATION


It is in human nature to model behaviour. As children, we model ourselves after the parent of the same sex; we start relating to people we like and want to be just like them. These people, often called ‘role-models’, are seen less as people and more as ideals with every passing day. They are inspirations, agents of change, revolutionaries, terrorists, politicians, speakers, actors, writers, even strangers, but not normal people. They have something in them that clicks so well with you that you want to be just like them. You worship them.

When you worship a person in the form of that Supreme Being who has all the power to inspire you, you put the control of your life in the hands of this one individual who is your inspiration. You bring into your own tiny, little world a Messiah, like Jesus, a Prophet who teaches you how to live. You believe in this person more than you believe in anything else and religious or not, you believe this to be divine – completely surpassing all excellence. You feel alive and invincible in the shadow of this Inspiration alone.

We shouldn’t, however, be forgetting that this Inspiration of yours may have no idea it inspires you, for this Inspiration too, is human. Half your inspirations may not even know you exist, for that matter; Angelina Jolie, for example. Nevertheless, we deny ourselves to this fact and worship the human in a Superhuman form, not worrying about what he or she may be going through. Yes, Inspirations too have a life; they have their own hardships and struggles, feelings and emotions – they are human too. And humans need space and privacy as well.

The craze of meeting your role-models grips us at a very young age. Doesn’t your 4 year old niece still want to meet Snow White? You too must be praying to get that one chance to meet your Inspiration in person or at least talk to them, get to know them like no one else has. It all seems very practical, doesn’t it? Getting to know your Inspiration up close would only inspire you further. It will help you model yourself better and make you so proud when you become what you inspire to be, right? Wrong.

When you get to know your inspiration up close, you get to know a person, not an ideal. You see the flaws behind the perfect picture, the face behind the mask, the horror behind the inspiration, and you live it every day with that person you called your inspiration. Yes, called. I used the past tense on purpose, for chances are when you get to know and understand your Inspiration so closely, you will suffocate and finally rid yourself the troubled soul you had been worshipping in your recent past.

Each Inspiration has a struggle behind them, which may or may not have been won, but when you see someone dealing with a situation you think you cannot handle, you get inspired and place on the shoulders of a struggling soul the title of a Superhuman, an Inspiration that only you draw from.

Having the chance to get to know your Inspiration and befriending them is a great deal that I can boast of achieving. My Inspirations were words of a writer on a blog I followed. This writer, I later found out, happened to be a student of the same school I had once attended and was a senior I didn’t know existed. The first time I approached him, still unaware of who he was, or whether he is a ‘he’ at all, was when I sent a message to the blog regarding some post I had liked, and honestly, I wasn’t counting on getting a reply either. We all know how we keep pursuing our Inspirations, but we hardly get a response…

Imagine my surprise when I found in my inbox a reply from this person. He seemed a down-to-earth personality which I was falling in love with with every passing day; his words were magic and something as simple as a ‘thank you’ in my inbox seemed so sincere and affectionate, I could cry! There was a sense of serenity in his words which was food to my broken soul and soon after we started talking on a regular basis, I found out who he was.

This might have made things a little easier, providing a lot of common things to talk about, and I found myself opening up to a total stranger against my will; but it felt good, and so I stopped resisting. I spoke to him so openly and he never let me down. He was always around when I needed support or someone to talk to. The connection was something so different; it cannot be put into words. Divine, is the only word that comes to my mind. It was a very formal relationship that we had; the respect I had for him was immense, and he inspired me and motivated me every single day until I stood on my own two feet.

Then one day, we stepped out of the formal zone, we were friends now; good friends.

Getting to know your Inspiration is a friend is not easy, because you can never confide in them that they inspire you. You depend on your Inspirations to pull you out of the muck whenever you fall into it, but you can depend on a friend only for so long – they are human too.

After crossing a certain point in our friendship, I felt the stone sculpture I had been worshipping turn soft. The rock-solid guy I knew was a victim of some misery I had sensed in his words before I ever spoke to him. For a long time, I did not have the courage to ask him what it was that bothered him. I was terrified of seeing my Inspiration crumble right in front of me. The fear of losing your Inspiration is so strong when you have befriended them. You lose not only your Inspiration, but a friend, a support system that was keeping you alive; you lose your will to live because you signed the DNR and now your life support has failed you.

What I hadn’t noticed before the panic set in, was that my Inspiration had made me strong enough to let me support him when he needed it, and the day he came to me, asking me if he could share something, I was ready for whatever it was I had to do to help him get through it. I slowly took in each of his words, processing them, trying so hard to believe what I had just read in my chat window. The most humane Superhuman I had known was stuck in the muck he pulled me out of.

I promised to help him and pushed him to stay strong. My Inspiration was dying and needed me; it isn’t every day that you get to do for your Inspiration what they did for you. I felt like an apprentice who had to now save the day and his master alike. I felt responsible to what happened next in the world of my Inspiration and of me. Days and nights I spent in the fear of when I would lose my Inspiration forever; he was the only thing on my mind. How do you inspire your Inspiration, motivate your Motivation and teach your Teacher?

I have no idea how we got through that time. We supported each other every day and grew stronger. I can proudly say that I am inspired by a true soul, not an actor, or speaker or anything else, but a friend; a friend whose worth is much more than any inspiration. He is priceless and when he supports me, I know there will come a time when I will get the chance to repay the favor. I live for those chances and for the day as I promised him, when I will make him proud.

Seeing your Inspiration break, crumble and cry in front of your eyes is a pain you never forget. Sometimes you need to inspire your Inspiration, motivate your Motivation and teach your Teacher, how to live. As for the times when your Inspiration needs a motivational push, give it a list of why it is your Inspiration and make it smile, for all you know, a day will come when you will be friends.

IT’S JUST US


It’s been a while since we spoke, hasn’t it? Almost a year, I believe. You had made me all the sweet promises of lasting forever, and then you just went away, slipped away and disappeared into nothing, vanishing like the mist in the air. Yes, you were misty, with all the secrets you kept from me and all the lies you made me believe; once you disappeared, I saw clearly, and frankly I didn’t like what I saw. The pretty image of this wonderful boy was nothing but a dream and a dream that could never be achieved. You were a dream; every moment spent with you was dream-like and so perfect, I should’ve known, it was not meant to last! But that is past…

Now, sometimes I miss seeing you around, but then I think to myself that it’s for the best that I don’t see your lovely face thrice a week. It makes me weak, when I remember how you used to hold me at my waist from behind and kiss me on my neck; the times you whispered sweet nothings and confessed to me your naughty thoughts, complimenting me, completing me. But it wasn’t meant to be, and that’s perfectly alright for perfection doesn’t last, and although you are my past, you were perfect.

I still remember the times we got too close; they still make me blush and smile. You were always so careful with me; I was your princess, a glass doll. Your touches were soft, your kisses, so gentle, yet strong. You were wonderful; you are wonderful. But you are not mine. And over a glass of wine, if you ever happen to talk to me, and if we do get as close, I’ll hold you and whisper, ‘don’t worry, it’s just us…’