SOMEONE TO RAISE YOUR SPIRITS


It seems like just yesterday,
that you were in my arms,
caressing and kissing me,
working all your charms…

It seems like just yesterday,
that you lay by my side,
under the moonlit sky,
keeping all worries aside…

We laughed and hugged,
and kissed and played;
it would all have been wonderful,
only if you had stayed…

I was still in awe of you,
when you told me not to cry,
that you were just playing,
and I would surely get by…

I stayed up nights in my bed,
trying to get your thoughts out of my head,
but it never really worked,
for in my dreams our moments lurked…

And then you brought her home one day,
her name was Daisy, I recall,
‘She is so perfect!’ you would say,
how could you, so quickly, fall?

You kissed her like you did me,
and it would kill me inside;
and I was now so jealous,
but I could in no one confide…

And when you called me that night,
crying, telling me, ‘She’s gone’,
I was already by your side,
and I stayed there till dawn…

You had hugged me, I remember,
and kissed me too soon;
I put my head on your pillow,
and all night you made me swoon…

In the morning, you had smiled,
and said, ‘That was insane!’
You sipped your coffee and went looking,
for someone to raise your spirits again…

THOUGHTS OF A YOUNG INDIAN TEENAGE GIRL


This piece was written over a course of five to six months and is nothing more than thoughts strung together trying to make sense of why exactly we are here.

The first time I had been so close to a bird of prey was when I was in 4th grade. I was walking down a busy road when suddenly a giant eagle came swooping down on my right side, its feathers touched me on my ankle, and within a fraction of second it was up in the air with a rat in its claws. I was terrified. My mother had always told me, that the ‘big birds’ were capable of lifting up a child as big as I was back then. Although I was scared, I was fascinated. The big, soft feathers, the sharp talons, those sparkling eyes, and the overall size of the bird… I had never imagined it to be so big!

I grew up trying to catch sparrows, feeding pigeons, and imitating mynas. The eagles, kites, hawks and vultures were only the soaring birds that I’d seen in books, cartoons or in far-off cages in a zoo. Coming so close to an eagle was something that sent a chill down my spine and thrilled me at the same time. I envied it. Why couldn’t I be so carefree? Flying across the sky at such a great height must be so thrilling! I wanted to fly!

All the envy dissolved soon enough. The child who wanted to fly turned into a teenager and began coping with issues at hand. We moved to another city and I forgot all about this experience until I met another wild beauty. It was six years later that I came in physical contact with a bird of prey. It was a kite. I had served in an animal shelter for a while during my summer break. We used to rehabilitate the wild animals there. I didn’t do much, mostly feeding them, spending time with them or at times helped cleaning up the enclosure.

It had been a while since I’d been visiting the place. I used to feed and spend time with the parrots, monkeys, doves and turtles. The keeper had showed me the kites once through a small opening in their enclosure’s gate. I really wanted to go in. I tried everything I could but he didn’t allow me in. It took me many visits and countless pleadings before I could enter the enclosure of my choice.

Standing in their enclosure, being surrounded by around 30 of them, I felt the thrill that I’d missed for so many years. I knew I wanted to stay with them for long and help them get back to where they belonged. But alas! It was the first and the last time that I ever saw them… The whole lot was ready to fly away in another 2 days’ time and I was running out of my summer-break. I got a chance to get so close to the kites that I could touch them. They walked around me like they had known me forever. I met them for a quarter of an hour and I missed them when they were gone!

But, everything is different now. I sit among my ‘friends’, that’s what I call them, whenever I want to. All I need to do is get onto my apartment’s terrace and there they are! I like spending time with them, especially in the monsoon. I think they understand me. Sitting on a height of more than 190 feet, with them, I feel so safe. They swoop low beside me or just hover around, and I sit there calmly, listening to music or just thinking about my life in general, about how far I have come from what I was. Maybe the only thing that hasn’t changed about me, since I was a kid, is my fascination for these giant birds.

I love them, I really do. Sometimes, when I want someone to be with me just for the sake of it, without making any conversation, I go to them. We sit there silently. It’s like we have a code of conduct, and a language that only we understand. We do not make physical contact anymore, and we speak silently, without making a single sound. My breath and the swishing of their wings the only sound there is. The dark clouds, a purple lightning every now and then, all around me, and the distant thunder, give me a sense of ‘Me’. I relate to this entire wild world.

Whatever a person may say, I find these birds, the wild stormy weather, and the fresh rain drops, the most gentle of all things. The height of more than 190 feet is thriller alone, along with these beautiful things, it gives me an assurance that I can touch the sky, I can fly, I can soar high and be the as carefree as those birds! Standing there in the silence, with eagles, kites and hawks soaring around me, I look at the city I live in. I feel like I own the place! The green patches here and there within the concrete jungle, the soothing weather, the distant, muffled, droning sound of traffic, and silence. This is my kingdom, and I am the Ruler. I have no subjects, just the birds, and the peace.

Every now and then a tiny hummingbird sized bird comes around and dances in the air in front of my eyes. It is quick, always in a hurry, unlike the many giant beauties that soar around calmly, carefree. I don’t like them a lot, the tiny birds. They disrupt my peace. ‘Disrupt’ is the perfect word I believe, because when I sit there, in my kingdom, along with the birds of prey, I reach another place altogether. I reach a higher, deeper level of consciousness which a yogi may reach on meditating.

I lose myself in the corridor outside the terrace, and when I enter the place, I am a different person altogether, I am ‘Me’. I sit there for hours at times, and just think. I think about how many times I faked myself to others just so that I wasn’t left out. I think about those who know the real me, and about how I’m lucky to have them. I lie down and just observe the wild birds flying around. Sometimes I think that they are patrolling, guarding me. They understand me don’t they? I hope they do, because I feel connected to them.

Not many have come up to the terrace with me. It is my special place, and only special people are allowed here. Actually, no one is allowed here, I myself sneak in when no one is around! Just two people have come here with me till date: My best friend and my boyfriend. Two people who I dearly behold in my heart. The funny part is that my boyfriend came here with me when we weren’t even in a relationship. Maybe it was the magic of the place that left me in awe of him. I knew he had liked me for quite some time, then.

This place has done wonders to me. It has made me think, and I like to think. I like to sit idle and reflect on how things are going on in my life or in lives of those who matter to me. I think about the people I miss, the ones who aren’t next to me due to any reason it may be. I listen to songs, and when I’m in a mood, I study. My favourite pass time is taking photographs of the birds here. The way they glide over my head, and sometimes hover a little just so that I can take a clear shot, is a very pleasant sight.

I feel on top of the world whenever I’m here. I forget about all the worries in life, although in reality I’m just thinking about them over and over again. It’s funny how these thought don’t trouble me once I’m in my Kingdom. Maybe this place is my ‘territory’, or maybe it’s theirs and they are just kind enough to let me stay for as long as I wish to. Maybe I’m their guest, or maybe they are better humans than any human can be, maybe they understand.

Being a teenage girl in India is more than just a ‘phase of life’. There are crimes, societal restrictions, peer and social pressures along with the coping up that is left to do in the field of physical, physiological and psychological changes that are taking place at such a rapid pace that you begin to wonder, ‘I know that the world goes round, but why does it spin like it’s a freaking basketball stuck in a tornado!?’ This reminds me of a line I heard in the song ‘Fireflies’ by Owl City. It says, ‘I’d like to make myself believe, that planet Earth turns slowly…’

Sometime I really wish that there existed something more than just bookish facts that let me know that I’m not the only one, and that it’s okay. And then I think that there indeed is something that exists outside the world of bookish-knowledge, my thoughts. They go on forever, they go everywhere and the best part is I carry them wherever I go! I carry them to my favourite place and read them whenever I want to without straining my eyes, in the dark, without worrying about the fact that someone will ‘see’ what I’m reading. Yes, I too worry about what people will think of me if they find out what I really feel…

Somehow, I feel free to share my thoughts with the wildness of the weather around me, the dark clouds and my soaring friends. A few raindrops here and there and the purple lightning surrounding me, showing me that what I’m doing is wrong, don’t bother me. I want to be a part of the wild. I want to be carefree, just like it. I want to fly, soar as high as I can, and never fall. I want to live and love. I feel as though nothing and no one can stop me once I’m up on the terrace in the open air with the eagles.

Although I do have human companions once in a blue moon, they are equal to non-existent. They are too busy trying to hide themselves from the eagles, while I’m out in the open, waiting for them to arrive and give me the high. It is weird connection that I have with these birds, maybe you can call it a telepathy, that makes me feel like I’m flying while it’s actually they who are soaring high above my head. I look down upon the countless number of people who walk around, closer and at a distance. I see the tiny colourful cars of different types making their way through the winding, confusing, roads and streets that have no particular beginning or end. They start from where you can make out the first road in sight and end where you lose track of them.

It’s a funny place, the city I live in. You get to see the shop-keepers and the customers haggling over tiny things, there is forever a traffic jam at a particular junction; every street has a minimum of two dogs living in it. And if these dogs decide to start a family of their own, you are in for a dog-concert every night around 1:00 am, guaranteed. And the only relief in all of this is that you don’t need to buy any tickets for attending this concert, for all you know, they might be right under your balcony or outside your window!

Looking at all of this from such a great height is a fun activity. You feel like God. At least that is what I feel like. Looking down upon thousands of people coming, going, doing what they do and so on… The only thing that you miss out on is the audio. You cannot hear a lot of these things, sitting up so high, and neither can you read minds! Also the video quality isn’t HD; you cannot zoom in to see a particular event. But then again, everything has its pros and cons! And I’m generally unmindful and oblivious to whatever is going on around me anyway, so I don’t see how it should matter to me.

These birds seem to be more or less like me, busy in their own world, just keeping each other and me company, not interfering. Sometimes I feel that they are spies of the God. They keep an eye on all of us. This is but just a thought that emerged out of an idle mind while on one such thoughtful day spent in the company of the soaring giants. I can’t bring myself to comprehend how much these birds inspire me. And they inspire me for no good reason. They just soar, unaware of my existence. Or they just might be aware, you can never say, the gentle creatures that they are, they might just be too ‘shy’ to acknowledge the fact in ‘public’.

I find them so fascinating ever since that first experience in 4th grade with the giant bird. It’s an exhilarating feeling, that of being in physical contact with a bird of prey. Although I do not deny the fact that it is an equally terrifying experience. It is just like being on a forbidden trip with a bunch of friends your mother doesn’t appreciate a lot. You enjoy every second of it, but there is a constant worry, ‘What if something goes wrong and she finds out?’ And let us all be honest with ourselves, we’ve all had one such trip.

That nagging, ‘What if’ question lingering in our head is what makes us – Humans, act in a cautious and careful manner. I don’t want that ‘What if’ in me. I want to throw it away, replace it with ‘So what’ and live my life carefree. Fortunately I have the company of a few like-minded, unfortunately they are not humans. I think I’m a wild spirit stuck in a human-form. I don’t like a lot of human company! I have socially awkward behaviour which, over time, I have learned to cover up, and now I’m no longer me. I’m a social commodity. That’s what humans are, I believe, social commodities.

We – literate humans, enjoy labelling each other. Classifying and stratifying ourselves into different groups, calling each other names and then justifying ourselves in a way that only we consider ‘civilised’. I’d rather that the tribes who still practice their culture of nature worship are far more ‘civilised’ than what we are. The wilderness that I so admire is probably the most ‘civilised’ of all ‘societies’ that one can ever come across. There is no fight for power out there. No cheating, no crime and no restrictions!

Our lives are so complicated that we fail to admire the beauty of the nature that gave birth to us. When I sit in isolation, I look at how the most ‘intelligent’ of all the species has destroyed the means of its existence. We do not realise that it is not the wild that is from us, but it is us that are from the wild. We cannot be tamed; we cannot be bound in social terms, institutions and norms. It’s insane how far human can go, to etch in history, the most dramatic rise of an ‘intelligent’ species, without realise the fact that ours will be the most dramatic fall.

These birds will live on; they will soar higher, reach greater heights in the literal sense and enjoy themselves, without risking their existence. This is because they are meant to soar. I sit with them and I hope that there is a God sitting up there, somewhere, hidden in the dark clouds, and listening to me. I want to fly. If not in this life, in my next, make me a bird of prey, Oh Lord! And if there isn’t anything like the next birth, let me die after a fall from a great height, at least that way I can ‘fly’. I really want to fly!

Talking to God, sitting up here, thinking about if there is something called the ‘next life’, I doubt the existence of reincarnation. It was man who came up with the concept of religion and so I believe there is no religion that I belong to, I’m a wild spirit. I am stuck in this form, why, I don’t understand. All I know is I am relieved of my tensions when I am in the company of nothing but silence and the silent hovering birds, my friends, my real friends. I can share everything with them. They don’t go tell others about what I feel. They don’t let out secrets or spread rumours. They’re like wallflowers, only much more common. You find them everywhere!

I haven’t been visiting them a lot lately, the summer heat roasts me. And so I lie down in my bed and stare at the clear blue sky, waiting for one of them to pass by my window, which they without fail do when I need them the most. They don’t leave me hanging, ever. I don’t know how they do it; they come to me when I need them, whatever the season or weather be. They are always by my side.

I should probably visit them soon. Monsoon is approaching and I’m ready to wash away my blues in the fresh raindrops. People plan on spending their time indoors during monsoon; I plan on spending it out in the open. I may be vulnerable to their attack up there, but down here, in the company of humans, I’m way more vulnerable. I’m vulnerable to being cheated on, being neglected, being accused of something I haven’t done, being labelled. But with the birds it isn’t like that. They will attack me only if I attack them.

The species Homo sapiens is almost a disgusting one, while Necrosyrtes monachus, Haliacetus leucocephalus, or Parabuteo unicinctus are all majestic in their ways. They are a particular kind of Vulture, Eagle and Hawk respectively, just in case you were wondering – all birds of prey. They are such beautiful creatures. Their wildness alone is enough to make one stand in awe of them; that put along with their soaring is something which cannot be comprehended.

The way they swoop down in order to grab their meal and are back up in the air in a matter of seconds – their speed and grace, is a wonderful sight to behold. I get to see plenty of such swooping-soaring antics of theirs, but somehow they leave me fascinated each time they do it. It never gets old, it never is something less. You can never have enough of it, at least I can’t. Seeing them do it isn’t enough for me, I want to myself fly so high.

In order to fulfil this wish of mine, I had once gone parasailing. We were on a boat, sailing at quite a distance from the shore in the Arabian Sea. The sun was setting and the instructor asked me if I wanted to take a dip in the ocean. I said I’d try. He harnessed me well and checked the system. With that I saw myself flying in the air. As I went higher up, the boat kept getting tinier. All my excitement was suddenly gone and I was at peace with myself. I’ve never been so calm before.

I followed the boat for a while, even drifted away a little for a while. I was just soaking in as much of this experience as I could. Flying, I was flying! I was soaring up in the air, so high, and below me all oceans, no sign of land. The salty air up on my face, the squawking of the seagulls somewhere far away, the sound of the waves coming and going beneath me, hitting the shore at a distance, bringing in the tide, the sun taking a dip in the ocean and silence – I was officially having the time of my life. I was slipping out of the harness, the lanky thing I am, my heart beat faster than usual and although at that time I should have been hanging on for my life, I let go of the harness and spread out my hands.

It hurt my shoulders as my arms stuck in the harness kept me in the air by taking the weight of my whole body, but I didn’t notice that until I got back onto the boat. Right now, I was making the most of every second that I spent in the air. I felt a sudden jerk, my heart skipped a beat. The operator was pulling me down. I hated the feeling, and then I remembered the ocean dip. It was getting darker; the sun had gone down and was collecting the last of its rays before retiring for the day. I swooped down towards the ocean at a high speed. Just before I entered the water body, I curled up my legs, out of instinct maybe? I don’t know.

I saw a school of orange, almost transparent jellyfish right under me. Before I could do anything about it, I was in the water. The heads of one or two touched my thighs, legs and feet, I’m glad they weren’t the stingy tentacles! After I went down so deep that only my head was outside the water, they lift me back up into the air. It was hardly a few seconds that I had been in that salty sea along with the school of jellyfish and my adrenalin levels shot up like anything. I was so excited, so alert. Maybe that is just how the birds feel when they swoop down to catch a prey.

It really must be great, the life of a bird. Looking down at everything from that height, feeling like God, going wherever and whenever you want to; no one to stop you. When I go onto the apartment terrace, I talk to them, in my head, about how my life is at the moment, and they in turn give out that melodious call at times. It makes me feel so special; a very vague sense of happiness that it may seem like, it is one of the best ways to give me a high, and they know that. I don’t know how they do it, but they call out to me in my happy times and just keep me company with their silent soaring when I’m feeling low. They have a sense of emotion too.

These birds of prey are not just some creatures that I’m fond of because I had an experience in 4th grade. I grew up with their stories. India is country where Panchatantra and Jataka tales, Hiptodesh tales and many more stories, mythological or not, have a mention of animals in them. And more often than not, these animals can speak. They are generally an important character in the story being told and so growing up with these tales has had its effect on me. I relate to animals like they are humans. This might make me more of animal, but it doesn’t matter to me.

The Ramayana, one of the mythological accounts in the Hindu religion, has the mention of a lot of animals. There are monkeys in an army, supported by the Monkey God – Hanuman, and the bear-army. There is mention of all the tiny squirrels that helped Lord Rama create the bridge to Lanka. The Golden Deer and other animals in the forest also play an important role, but the most important role, according to me, is that of Jataayu, a vulture. He tried to save the wife of Lord Rama while she was being kidnapped. In the process he loses a wing, despite this, he makes sure that he informs Lord Rama of the abduction. Later he succumbs to the injury. His brother then helps Lord Rama’s army reach Lanka.

Although he was a vulture, Jataayu was not an evil creature. Birds of prey are gentle too. They are much gentler than ‘us’ – Humans. Although the Ramayana is a religious and mythological account, I respect it for its values. In fact, I respect all the Holy books for the values they impart. The only thing I wonder about is, if Man could write such a beautiful account, why couldn’t he follow it? Why is He eager to destroy Himself and His companions so readily? Isn’t religion like a funny disease in that case? It cures people by giving them an identity, but when these identities clash with each other, they destroy the individual – just like the Dissociative Identity Disorder in psychology.

It is like a bad reaction that takes place when we consume two drugs with a set of highly reactive chemicals in them – Fatal. Religion is a fatal drug, a disease, and no one seems to be realising that. It has engulfed our whole species in, like a parasite. It came into existence because of humans, and now it is wiping them out. Just why is it happening, I don’t understand! I just want to separate myself from all of the socio-religious pressures. It’s the easy way out, I know. I am aware, that I can and must fight, so that I can pull out few others along with me, but I don’t think of it as a sane decision.

People want to embrace religions; they do not find any fault with them. Human beings are probably the only creatures, besides elephants, who think belonging to a group is all that is required for existence – it doesn’t matter then, if you are being abused in that ‘group’ you belong to. And this is true not only of India, but all the countries. It is true of every single place the Humans inhabit. People seem to have forgotten that there is beast living inside all of us, a wild beast, who wants to come out and moreover, who needs to come out. We cannot contain that wild side of ours inside us forever. In fact it has already come out and in worse forms.

Have you ever thought about why there is crime? Why does one human murder another or deprive him/her of his/her share of resources? We have never come across a lot of news articles saying, “One Lion kills another over land dispute” or “Sailing Whale captured by another: Accused demands ransom for release”, the morning paper is filled with headlines saying, “Man kills another over land dispute” and “Sailors captured by Pirates who demand ransom for release”. Humans are the only species on Earth who a keen on killing not only the other species that exist, but their own as well. A famous folk tale narrates the story of Man’s destruction by His own hands, and I’m sure this is what is going to happen a few decades down the line.

The folk tale describes how Humans first came to Earth in a small number, just like the other species. They used to live just like any other animal. They were carefree and had a lot of free time. An ideal mind is a devil’s workshop, and so the Humans started plotting against other species and started the practice of hunting. None of the animals cared a lot as the carnivores killed an animal from a different species and made a meal out of them anyway.  But slowly this practice of hunting turned into a hobby and many species were killed in large numbers. The humans, in order to show their strength, grew in number and inhabited the whole planet.

They killed other animals for no reason in large numbers, cut down the infinite forests and called themselves ‘superior’. Once they established their superiority over other species, they were left idle once again. Now, they started forming ‘groups’ and conspired against each other. They established a thought process, that of the existence of a supreme power – God. They gave their Gods different names and formed religions – and so, there are castes and religious conflicts everywhere. Then they ‘modernised’ themselves, industrialised and urbanised, and formed classes. They justified themselves by calling this ultimate method of dividing themselves ‘Civilization’.

I haven’t heard of any animal civilizations, and this is not because animals aren’t intelligent enough. They are much more intelligent and have succeeded in living in harmony with the nature and all the other life forms. It is true that one animal kills another for food, but this is the law of nature. Humans are defying this law by killing for pleasure. They are killing for material pleasure while materials are nothing more than a creation of man-kind, which, one day, will perish like Him. But, man cannot realise that. He is overcome by Maya.

Maya doesn’t have its effect on animals, does it? I don’t think so. I’ll talk to my friends about this when I visit them. It’ll be a few months before I see them next, but I’ll make sure I talk to them about this. I want to let my wild spirit out soon, and I’ll be able to do that only in their company because they understand, they have emotions. You can hear their happiness, anger, excitement and even grief in their calls. All you need to do is make yourself familiar with them and their calls. I don’t think I understand them fully, but I’m sure I understand the gist of their melody.

The call of the Eagle is my favourite and so I enjoy spending most of my time with them. When I am with them, I prefer listening to their calls than listening to The Wanted telling me that they are glad I came, by singing their famous song ‘Glad You Came’. I dump my phone aside and forego my inspiration: Eminem, when I’m with them. I cut myself out from reality and just get lost in their calls for as long as possible before my phone blasts up, singing ‘One More Night’ on top of its voice and scares the day-lights out of me. Maybe I should just change my ring-tone. I wish that lets me spend more time with them.

Most of the times that I walk around my apartment, with or without the company of my dog, I have my ears stuffed in with the ear-phones blaring out one song or another, and I find myself staring up at whatever blue skies can be seen from among the many tall buildings that surrounded me. I’m generally lost in my own thoughts, not seeing the path I’m walking, because I’m so well aware of it by now that if there was no danger of being hit by a car or of being groped, I’d be walking with my eyes closed. Every twist and turn, every slope, footpath, tree and even the distance is etched into my memory so clearly – I’ve been walking these roads forever now.

I stare into the open blue canvas, waiting for my life to take a turn, thinking… Sometimes I feel that I think all the time. I don’t give a rest to my brain, I keep thinking about something or the other, and when I do find myself thinking about nothing in particular, I’m still thinking. This instability of thought in me is something I’m proud of, but this is what kills me from time to time. I think, and I think, and then I overthink. And once I overthink my life goes through the churning, falling-into-pieces and shattering process before coming back to normal. And to be frank, it’s never me alone who gets my life back on its tracks. It’s the wild.

I have a friend, one I hold really close to my heart, he too is my best friend, and I’ve known him for around 10 years now. We share a special bond. And just to let you know, I’m not one of the many people out there calling every second person on the street their best friend. I have only two of them – one boy and one girl. And it is a sane enough thing to have them as my best friends because I’m not much of a girly thing and so there are things that I simply cannot share with a girl. I grew up playing cricket and football on the streets with boys, jumping off buildings, hurting myself every other day by falling and such, and so I relate to boys. I need a boy-best-friend as much as I need a girl.

So, this friend of mine, I haven’t seen him in 7 years now, but we’re the closest of buddies. We share almost all our experiences. He lives in a different state. I don’t know why, but when I lie down with the birds, I think of him a lot, sometimes as much as I think about my guy. Maybe because he helped me overcome the biggest problem I ever faced in life so far. I literally owe my life to him. This gratitude I have in me for him has taken the form of love – pure love, a bond like that of a brother and sister. I respect him a lot, and although he has his flaws, I love him.

But I cannot tell this to anyone. People always take it otherwise. I don’t understand why ‘love’ is something which involves ‘lust’. Hasn’t anyone experienced something like pure love; only and only love, and no thoughts about making love? I don’t think they have. Look at the soaring giants, they are so affectionate, and what is affection but love? Why can’t I be like them? Why can’t I love so freely? Why does ‘love’ need to be accompanied by ‘lust’? Yes, I am in love with two boys. But these are two entirely different kinds of love and I am very clear about it. One is purely raw, wild love –the one I have for my guy, and one is mature and has its limits – the one I have for my best friend.

Yes, love too has a wild side, and its wild side is what everyone is seeking. Wild love is unconditional – without conditions, without restrictions. But with the social commodification of people, love too has become a commodity. It is freely available in market. But like everything else in the market, this too is adulterated. This love can poison you, it can turn evil – it can kill. And I don’t need to justify myself on this, we’ve seen enough cases of passion crimes and murders which came to light after a love triangle or similar case.

Humans are social commodities. I keep repeating this over and over again, keep emphasising this point, to make you realise its weightage. Isn’t in a true fact? We are labelled, so are goods. We have a price value – our class and status. We have a face value – the fashion. And over time we are forgotten with the exception of a few here and there. We replace people, we use and throw them, and all of us do that. I myself might have done something of the kind when I didn’t realise the worth of my actions, and I agree I was and am still wrong if I’ve done something like that.

I sit here in my room tonight and stare at the yellow moon. Black clouds cover it up every now and then. It looks like it came right out of a fairy tale, the moon – pale yellow, like it’s made of cheese. I keep staring. My phone is playing songs on shuffle, first comes ‘You’re Beautiful’ by James Blunt, then ‘Iris’ by Goo-goo Dolls and then ‘Fireflies’ by Owl City. The line keeps ringing in my head, ‘I’d like to make myself believe, that planet Earth turns slowly…’ and I think of my friends. I can’t see them right now; it’s too dark for them to be out.

I was just thinking about this when suddenly a bat flew outside my window. It looked like a Halloween bat, flying across the distant yellow moon, partially covered up by dark clouds. I smiled. It was a pleasant sight. I love the wild. It can read you and give you what you need within a matter of a few seconds. It never puts you down. It loves you much more than you can ever imagine – it’s Nature. And that is the reason some tribes worship Mother Nature – she provides and doesn’t disappoint anyone. She is wild, yet worshipped.

I was reading a book today; it’s called ‘Orphan of Islam’ by Alexander Khan. The views in the books were somewhat like mine, but for an entirely different reason. A quote from the book which I’ll be mentioning shortly just struck me like pure realisation. It was as if that string of words just stripped down all the sugar-coated words off humanity and there stood nothing but the naked truth. There wasn’t a single punctuation, leave alone the words that I disagreed upon. The author had taken words right out of my mouth and all I could do was stare at the copy in amazement, not believing that people actually shared my thoughts.

Now, too be sure one understands what the author is talking about in those lines I’ll just give a brief history of the book. This story is of a boy who is separated from his mother and grows up in the company of extremely religious relatives from his father’s side after his father passed away. In these lines he is describing a person he’d met in the rural areas in the northern Pakistan. Here is what the lines exactly say – “I didn’t mind that he was wild; someone had to take on that role in such a conservative, religious and rural area.” I read and re-read that line over and over again. Someone did agree, that there needed to be the presence of some amount of wild, even in the most deeply religious of ‘societies’.

Wild does not represent brutality or barbarianism, quite simply the wild is nothing more than a carefree bird. Another quote from the same book made me feel so close to author that I might have just hugged him if I ever met him and told him only two words, ‘I Understand.’ And although it wouldn’t be the total truth of the situation because whatever the protagonist of the story went through was much more than I ever faced and God willing, more than I will ever face. Did I mention it is a true story and a must read book?  Well, in this part of the book, which comes much before the one I previously mentioned, the boy is ready to escape from a madrassa – an Islamic school, where he is held captive and literally, physically tortured.

“I glanced out of the mosque window. Two vultures were circling high above the minaret, lazily hovering and swooping before reaching for the skies once again. They seemed so carefree, and for a moment they gave me hope and inspiration.” The amount of trauma the boy in the story went through, and after all of that he sees two wild birds hovering – that is all that was needed to give him inspiration! And as I was saying, wild is not all about barbarianism and brutality, not all about violence and fights, there is a soul and love which are clearly reflected in the face of the wild – sheer innocence; an innocence which disguised itself in the form of danger because it’s just too naïve. And a disguise, mind you, is not a reality, just a mask.

Whatever I’m writing down is nothing but a stream of thoughts that’s been playing in my head for as long as I can remember. I want someone to hear me, but when it comes to speaking I just cannot bring myself to utter a single word, and so I resolve to writing. This is not the first time I’m giving my thoughts a physical, tangible form. I think I started in 7th or 8th grade, this business of putting my thoughts on paper. I don’t remember how, why or where I started this, but it’s been long – I write and burn. It’s true. I wrote down all my feelings and the best way to get rid of them was to burn them, and so I did just that – burn them. This process of writing and burning went for some time and now I’m typing all this out in a Microsoft document so it’s easier for me to get rid of them if I need to. Just one click and POOF! It’ll all be gone.

It’s around thirty seven minutes past six and I don’t know why I’m writing anyway, I’ve a ton load of homework pending. The sky outside is a typical shade of orange, almost like the musk-melon I just ate. I don’t know why I’m not like others around my age. I don’t want fleeting relationships, I want to work, and my tastes don’t match theirs in terms of reading, dressing, thinking or anything at all! It makes me feel so left out all the time. Somehow I just ignore all of this – I’ve been doing it for too long now. It might have made me numb, the never ending ignorance. I’m not a fun thing like most people my age; I take things seriously, too seriously.

I’ve become bold too. I take on things when they come. I’m not afraid of a lot of things that people my age are – spiders, lizards, subjects they study, other people, future? Heck, I’m not even scared of death! The only thing I’m extremely, crazily afraid of is not being loved. I’m afraid that one day all the people I love will walk out on me, and I’m afraid that if I die in an accident, I won’t be able to say my last goodbyes to others. It’s but a very funny situation, because although I’m worried that I won’t be able to the tell the ones I love that I love them before I die, I really want to die in an accident and preferably the one in which I can fly. Something like a mishap during my next parasailing or falling off a tall building should do. Road accidents are not on the top of my list, but I guess that way someone will see me and contact the people I know, so I might be in a perfect situation to tell my last goodbyes.

I don’t think a lot of people sit and imagine their death in so much detail. Why do I do that? I don’t know and I don’t care. It’s like a daily business, imagining new ways to die. Not really suicide, just death in general. I have a strong, really strong feeling, that I’ll die young and at the time of death I’ll either be alone or in the company of strangers. The fear of not being loved is just washed right out of my head when I’m with the birds. I think I belong with them, I love them and they don’t really have a way of showing me if they love me or not, so I just believe that they do and that relaxes me. I have noticed and previously mentioned this, that although I believe that I am relaxed and at peace when with the soaring beasts, I’m just thinking about various problems over and over.

Thinking so much makes me so tired. I feel like I haven’t slept in ages. I cannot remember the last time I didn’t cry myself to sleep. Crying to bed is like a routine now. I don’t know why it happens. When I’m out in the wild, wherever it may be, I don’t feel like crying at all. It reminds of the fairy tales where there is no pain, only a Happily Ever After. Going to hill stations of India or in the open fields and forests of Germany, wherever there is wild nature I feel so peaceful. I’m not afraid of the wild, I adore it. The creepy-crawlies that most girls shriek on seeing, I find them pretty. The only thing I probably hate is the jumping spider – it’s too… well, jumpy! Such a hyperactive thing! I prefer calm and most of all I hate violence and fighting. That’s probably because I grew up with a lot of shouting going on in the house, but nonetheless I hate it.

There are a very few things on my hate list, I generally love everything and everyone but it may vary from one thing or person to another in degree. I dislike things and people, I don’t hate them. If I hate something I’ll go to any extent to avoid it, and avoid it only because I don’t want to get into a fight with them – I ultimately hate violence, fights and even arguments. Debates however are a different topic, I enjoy them! I’m a weird mix of the extremes of any possible thing on Earth. I laugh all day, I cry myself to bed; I have friends, but I don’t like their company most often than not; I enjoy being with kids while they can be the one thing getting onto my nerves very quickly; I want to love and I do to, but I’m afraid of heartbreaks, and the list will go on.

Maybe heartbreaks are why people from conservative backgrounds avoid love-marriages and in fact, love at all. I don’t even know where I stand, because I have the raw wild love in me in store for the ones I love the most, but the fear that  I’ll be left alone one day is too much and too strong. But the ignorance and numbness has made me durable to heartbreaks I guess… Or maybe it’s the thick-skinned bitch in me who just doesn’t get it that people today can’t love in a pure, raw, unconditional form. I know I can and so I expect others to do the same. There has to be someone out there thinking alike and I hope I’ve met him already…

I love too much, too deep and too quickly. I don’t judge. Heck, even animals judge! But does the wild? I don’t think so… It accepts everyone as its own – the animals, plants, you and me, the forests, hills, oceans – we’re all a part of it. We’re all a part of the wild, but for some reason I feel there are not a lot of people who want to be a part of it. Humans are trying to ‘civilise’ the wild. It’s a shame. Can ‘we’ humans, for once not accept the things the way they are meant to be? Do we have to interfere? We introduced the concept of settlement, family, clans, heritage, religion, city, law and also crime, destruction, treachery, and cheating. Was it all worth it?

Did those creatures flying so high come up with these ‘ideas’? No. Are they happy? Yes. Are they carefree? Yes. If only there was one wish that I ever got, I’d wish to turn into a bird of prey; the wildest forms of beauty, pride and strength. I want to be as strong as them, as carefree, as beautiful as them and fly. I want to soar. I saw a few of them today while I was walking my dog. It was as though they were welcoming the first showers, celebrating – but I could see no rain. After walking for a while, fat heavy raindrops started pouring out of nowhere like a shootout of water bullets which hit everyone. But there is a difference. Bullets kill, while these water bullets fill every soul with life.

Last evening was pitch black and the in the midnight talked to me my old friend, the purple lightning. I was angry and mad and crying, singing myself to sleep. I can’t tell you which song because I make my own and I don’t really remember what I sang last night. After the sticky hot summer, the cloudy skies were a welcome. This morning the weather was pleasant and now, while was taking the walk a while back, the first showers came down while the sun was still shining. As I walked, the sun giving toasty warmth on my back and the cool wind hitting my face, everything seemed so brilliant. The grass was actually glittering green and gold, the birds were happy and soared about so low before shooting up for the cloudy sky. The clouds made a nice fluffy thing out of themselves, going nowhere near the sun so it shone bright, almost blinding. The flowers seemed brighter in colour, like someone had just washed them and the stony platforms in the gardens seemed so inviting!

I was busy admiring all of this sudden change, listening to ‘A Thousand Years’ by Cristina Perri so much that I was almost shaken by the first fat and heavy raindrop that hit me hard on my head. I looked around me to see if there were other drops of water around me or if I should check for a naughty bird. I was overjoyed to see the ground around me changing colour –The dusty grey asphalt now turning black, the sand-pit turning darker and the grass shining brighter. I looked ahead of me and saw the path shimmer like a million diamonds had been thrown on it. The tiny gaps that remained between two rain-drop patches seemed like a transparent diamond that was placed on the path, shining in the sun.

I started singing along and took every single rain drop with utmost joy – finally what I had been waiting for! The monsoon is here! My eyes scanned the skies for my friends who seemed to have come out to greet me for this special occasion. The eagles were all around me and I found myself looking at them and walking ahead instead of watching where I walked. I was smiling like a weirdo but I cared less about what the few others, who were running for shelter, thought of me. I’m thinking about the people I call friends. It’s funny, the realisation that I don’t really like any of them. My life is got to be a damn comedy movie which God, if he/she exists, is enjoying way too much to realise that this is my life. Maybe that’s what the movie is titled: ‘Life’.

I spend time with a bunch of people and they are considered friends just because I spend time with them. No one cares about if I actually enjoy their company or not. I don’t even know why I stick with their disgusting, back-stabbing talks and the sick and offending ‘jokes’. This so called human friend circle of mine has grown significantly large these days. Wait, a correction: This so called human friend circle of mine has grown suffocating large these days. Everyone is judging everyone and everyone is dating the other. There is so much ‘love-making’ around me that I feel sick! You are in love with XYZ today, that’s great! I know you’ll move on to ABC tomorrow anyway… Honestly I don’t give a flying fuck about who you are dating!

‘Flying fuck’ reminds me; I recently was going through some facts and came across one regarding my real friends – the Eagles. It read that eagles mated while in air and the first thing that came to mind was this: ‘the next you don’t give a flying fuck, remember, an eagle just might!’ I laughed at my own joke for weeks before it got old because I never shared it with anyone. Sharing is something I have stopped doing these days. Humans are not worth receiving anything – not even love. When they are not capable of giving something, they definitely do not have a right to take it from anyone!

Mother Nature loves us; we should love her and complete a cycle of the give and take. Instead, what do we do? We do what we do best – take advantage. It is annoying how far people can go and use another. My birds don’t do that! They love me back… Don’t they? It has been ages since I went up to greet them, but they are still around. They swoop down to greet me when I don’t go all the way up to my Kingdom. They understand my dilemmas and fears. They understand me, they love me – we are connected!

I have been up there with my guy countless times and the birds know just when to leave us alone and when to keep us company. They have seen us getting close and at times naughty, but they won’t tell anyone. They see things, hear them and just keep it to themselves. I like that a lot… I wish everyone was like them. Life would be so much simpler. They have seen so many of my first and intimate moments – from the 48 minute long hug to the first time his lips touched my skin, the time when I sat in his lap and we kissed, when we were half naked and embracing each other… They have seen me in my good and bad and yet they do not judge me. I love them.

The cool wind coming through my open window is giving me goose-bumps and making me sneeze – I have viral. Yesterday, I kissed my baby the last goodbye; we broke up. I’m in India so please don’t be surprised, his parents didn’t approve of our relationship and we went through a lot in the last five months so he ended it and I accepted the blow in my face ever so graciously… I didn’t want a fight, a blame-game, an argument or a tearful drama to unfold. I simply met him, probably for the last time, hugged him and kissed him goodbye. I learnt this from the wild, to accept things as they come. If you haven’t noticed, humans have killed the nature, yet it is thriving. She gives us what we need, when we need it, even if it kills her. But when the time comes, she reclaims her rights so generously. Yes, if you test her temper she takes her wild form and wipes out a bunch of people just like that, but let us not forget how much she gives us.

These social commodities called humans are just getting out of hand with every passing day. We are killing the machines that create us – the females in our species, and the nature itself! We are manipulating everything and anything that we come across. We are ‘evolving’ in beasts that we do not realise we already are. We are beasts held captive by awkward social institutions like that of a family. I don’t see why we need a ‘family’. Aren’t we all the same species? Can we all not live together like a family and love each other? Yes, we may have disagreements, but can we not solve them peacefully? Do we have to fight? We can love dogs and cats – I love kites and eagles too – but can we not love each other?

A lot of things have spun my world around in the past few weeks, I want to be in control of things once again and for that I need to visit my seat of power and my allies; I need to go 190 feet high up in the air and talk in a silent language only we understand and I need to do it fast! The moon tonight is teasing me… Playing hide and seek from beneath the blanket of clouds. I think I’ll just listen to the nonsense rambling of the people outside, or to the dog concerts or Fool’s Garden telling me that ‘nothing ever happens’, singing their famous song Lemon Tree and play a round or two with the moon. I want to sleep tonight. I am tired. I haven’t slept properly in days… Insomnia can really kill you. I wish such things didn’t exist – Insomnia, Depression, and diseases like Cancer. But these are mere wishes. Such things do exist and they have names too, they are not going away anytime soon.

I want to sleep tonight and dream. It has been ages since I dreamt. I used to be a lucid dreamer, controlling my dreams, living in a world that I created! But these days I can’t sleep, I can’t dream, I can’t go back to the world I created, a world where I found comfort and where I felt secure. I hope to go back there tonight.

WHEN YOU GROW UP


When does a child ‘grow up’?

According to science, on reaching puberty; according to law, on turning eighteen; according to society, when they start earning… But when does he or she actually grow up? Does it so happen, like in the ’98 flick ‘Big’, that one fine day you wake up to realize that you’re all grown up? Well, maybe it does happen that way…

One day, the fourteen year old boy woke up to find that his military-man father, who he looked up to, has been shot dead and he is now the ‘man of the house’, the ‘big guy’… He needs to comfort his mother and put his little sister back to bed each night because mummy now works two shifts to make ends meet…

One day, the fifteen year old girl saw her addict father shoot her mother before he killed himself. She needs to take care of her younger brother and the infant baby girl who is barely a few months old. She has to be in-charge until the social services take over, doing what grown-ups do…

One day, you woke up and realised you have grown up. When was that? Do you remember the sun shining upon your face as you looked out of the window of the car just before it got hit by the oncoming truck? Or do you remember your mother just abandoning you in the middle of nowhere because she couldn’t take care of you anymore?

It is true; this is how we all grew up. It took us barely a second to grow up. There was a change in our lives that made us responsible, and that is all that is needed to grow up – responsibility. You grow up when you hear that your friend died in a car crash; you grow up when you see the stick turn pink; you grow up when you hear the police asking you to pull up by the road… You grow up a little every day, every minute of your lives.

You don’t need to turn eighteen, have a job or hit puberty to grow up; all you need to do is be responsible, because when you grow up you make decisions that will change your life.

One day, the fourteen year old boy woke his little sister up and together they brought their tired mother some breakfast in bed.

One day, the fifteen year old girl promised her younger brother that she would visit him and their sister every weekend, even if their houses were on the other side of the city.

One day, you made a decision that changed your life for the better, and you were proud, because you grew up.

SHORTCUTS


I couldn’t believe this! I’d known Blake for almost 11 years and not once had the thought crossed my mind that he would commit suicide! I thought it would be one of his many ugly pranks that he was always able to pull off on me, but his mother’s muffled cries and father’s choked up voice confirmed to me the reality of him no longer being with us. Tears ran down my cheeks as I looked at the photo of the two of us staring at me from the wall. I couldn’t speak a word; none of us could. I managed to choke out a response to his father, who was patiently waiting for me on the other end of the line to take it all in. The time had stopped; none of us were in any hurry.

‘I’ll be there.’ I told him. ‘Don’t let him go before I see him, please!’ I started sobbing loudly, waking my roommate up. ‘Please!’ I repeated. He must have nodded absentmindedly before uttering an almost inaudible ‘Yeah…’ We hung up the lines and I brought my knees close to my chest only to hug them tightly and cry harder.

‘Megan, are you alright?’ My roommate got out of her bed and turned on the lights. ‘It’s 3 in the morning! Who called? What happened?’ She kept asking so many questions and my head hurt from all the crying; I simply kept shaking my head, not willing to accept that my best friend could do such a thing. She bought me a glass of water and I drank the whole of it, taking sharp deep breaths in between.

The cold water running down my heated-up body shocked me for a few seconds and I sat motionless, staring into nothing, tears rolling down my cheeks. ‘What’s the matter?’ she repeated. ‘Blake,’ I said. She nodded, ‘Yeah, what about him? All okay?’ I shook my head. ‘Blake,’ I repeated. The third time I took his name I started crying once again.

‘He left me! He left me all alone!’ I screamed. She was confused and yet alarmed, I was screaming too loud. ‘Shhh, you’ll wake the entire dorm up!’ She hushed me. ‘Tell me clearly what happened. Stop crying first…’ She wiped away my tears and sat next to me. ‘What happened to Blake?’ she asked. The look on her face was that of dread; she was awaiting the worst.

I looked at her, still crying, ‘He is dead,’ I whispered. Her face turned paper white and her hands immediately covered he mouth which was wide open in shock. She looked at the photo that hung on the wall and then back at me. ‘How…’ she whispered. ‘Suicide…’ I said.

I didn’t sleep the entire night and at 7am shut my alarm off before going over to wash my face. The bullies awaited me and picked on me the minute I stepped outside the room. ‘Oh my, is Halloween here already?’ asked one. ‘No, but I guess this the start of the zombie apocalypse, alright! Let’s inform the guys and get our weapons ready!’ Everyone laughed as I walked in a pathetically slow pace towards the bathroom. ‘Shut up you girls!’ A girl called out behind me.

‘Oh look, now Cindy will defend her good-for-nothing roommate!’ The nonsense giggles broke through once more and a couple girls nudged past me into the bathroom. I started shivering and fell to the ground as the thought of not seeing Blake anymore made me cry out once again. I sat up and pulled my knees to my chest and held my head with my hands, entangling them in my messed up hair. The corridor was quiet all of a sudden. I looked at the group of girls from the corner of my blurry eye and saw Cindy telling them something – that my best friend was dead.

I buried my head in my knees and cried for long. Next when I looked up, there was no one in the corridor but Cindy, waiting at the door of our room. It was as if the group had just dissolved into thin air! She walked over to me and handed me a tissue. My eyes were burning and head throbbing as she helped me get up and regain my balance. She walked me to the bathroom and helped me clean up. I decided not to take a shower that day.

It was almost 9am when I went back to my room and found my bags packed. I stood there, staring at the bag. Cindy lightly touched me on my arm and I looked up at her. She smiled and said to me, ‘He’s waiting for his last goodbye, isn’t he? Don’t leave him hanging!’ I hugged her cried until I could cry no more. Later, she tied up my hair in a neat bun so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I changed into my grey leggings and navy blue shirt before I left, for the sake of travelling.

I was at the bus station when my mother called me. ‘Yeah, I’m on my way,’ I spoke dryly. My eyes were sore and the pain-killer seemed useless as my head still hurt. She didn’t continue the conversation and asked me where she should pick me up. ‘At his house,’ I said and hung up. The bus journey seemed longer than usual as I sat and recalled every incident the two of us had shared.

Blake was a stubborn boy from the beginning, not haughty though. He cared about the ones he loved, the ones he didn’t love didn’t exist for him People called him arrogant and called him names, but within his friends’ group, he was the stud! His dirty blond hair and gray eyes made him look like a bad-boy player which he definitely wasn’t.  He was a regular boy who loved bikes more than cars and played real good drums.

He wasn’t the type who could keep girlfriends but had a notable number of friends he made while biking. We often used to sneak out at night and he used to race other boys while I cheered him on with a group of certain others. He used to win every single race because he always had the shortcuts figured out. ‘I’ve got shortcuts, motherfucker!’ he would scream at the end of every race he won. The kind of company he had, he used to drink occasionally and use a lot of swears, but that didn’t make him any less of a sweetheart.

He always told me of all the new shortcuts to different routes that he had discovered and the forgetful boy that he was, he often told me of the same route twice or thrice. He never remembered my birthday in the past 17 years but always made up to me in some way or the other.

A short jerk brought me to my senses when the bus stopped at the station which I had been longing to see but now hated the sight of. ‘Don’t you dare leave me like that ever again!’ I remembered him scolding me when I run away from the house two years ago. He had found me at the bus station and had taken me to his home for the night. ‘I won’t, I promise.’ I had told him. ‘You better not be leaving me, okay?’ ‘Don’t live by that!’ he had told me. ‘Another couple years, we’ll be in different states, I might have a clingy girlfriend on my back… I won’t be with you forever! Bu yeah, I’ll never forget you Megan…’

I had joked about his memory being so bad that he’d forget me if he didn’t see me for two days and the night had turned into a bright day where he dropped me off to my house. The thought of it right now made me cry so bitterly. I few familiar faces in the small town I lived in looked on to me in pity. I ignored them and went on towards his house. Upon reaching found a number of bikes parked outside.

I went in to the filled room and saw my mother sitting along with his parents. Everyone was quiet. His biking friends and relatives were everywhere in the room. ‘Where is he?’ I asked my mother. She pointed towards the guestroom. Nobody was in that room. I entered slowly, dropping my bag off at the door. The sight of the dark brown coffin made my eyes watery again. I walked up to him and sat beside him. I stroked his hair and placed a hand on his forehead. It was cold, like marble.

‘Why…’ I whispered. ‘You should have talked to me… I’d help you!’ I cried. A little later, his father walked up to me and placed a hand on my shoulder. ‘Megan,’ he said. I wiped my tears and turned around to look at him. He gave me a piece of paper. ‘He didn’t want any of us to read it before you…’ I held on to the piece as tightly as I could. My hands were shivering. He left me alone in the room with my best friend, as if to let us talk in secrecy.

I sat on the edge of the bed closest to where Blake was resting and stared at the piece of paper. ‘Meg first’ it read in his shabby handwriting that I had grown used to seeing. I opened it up and what I read made me cry harder than I ever have and ever will.

‘I found the shortcut to where we’ll all be at the end! See ya later motherfuckers!’

CRIMINAL


‘Good evening officer,
I would like to surrender;
No! I am no offender;
the problem is my gender…’

‘You see, I am not a man,
although I sound like one, I know;
and no, I am not a lady either,
but I feel like one although…’

‘Officer, please book me,
under section 3-7-7,
because I might just go crazy;
this is OUR 9/11!’

‘No, not yours officer,
unless you too are gay…
No, this is not my choice,
and I haven’t been led astray,’

‘I am a part of nature too,
and this is a part of me,
so how is this unnatural,
will you please explain to me?’

‘Yes, the court did rule so,
but how are they so sure?
How is your love legal,
and ours not-so-pure?’

‘No, you are right;
it is a verdict to obey,
so I am here to surrender,
arrest me, what do you say?’

‘I am a criminal to the law;
I am in love with both the sexes!
I am a man and love a man;
do you not see the nexus?’

‘I need you to arrest me,
and I am in no doubt;
I am a homosexual,
but what’s there to be gay about?’