To Mr and Mrs Smith…

I watched Mr and Mrs Smith in the rainy month of June 2005. It wasn’t easy. Too much coaxing had to be done. I was nigh on 16 so going to the movies with friends was simply out of question.  I held my ground. Discussions ensued. A decision was finally made. I could go only if I was accompanied by my older cousin who worked night shifts. Bad enough she wasn’t a big fan of movies, I had to drag her along with me to watch the damned movie on the only day she got to sleep at home. So, guilt ridden and excited I dragged 2 of my sisters to watch the movie. I liked it. And then I decided to never tell the Gilmores about any of movie outings.

My next big movie outing was arranged in full secrecy. A bunch of friends from college and I went to catch Dus at Rex.  It took me half a day to realise that this whole business of watching a movie with friends was a big deal only for me.  Everybody else seemed unexcited and casual, even. I was disappointed because it was the first time in my life I was somewhere I was not supposed to be and nobody seemed to recognize or share my pleasure. My parents didn’t know where I was and that was the best thing about the whole movie outing. I felt great when I returned home knowing how I spent my day. It felt good to have lied and gone out for a day with friends, which if I had asked permission for, I would never have been allowed.

Further down the years, lying became my only way of getting what I wanted. I did try the truth occasionally but when I saw that it made their control over me seem tighter, I decided to stick with lies for the rest of my life. My Pre university days at home were horrible. Every movement was watched. So much so that mother faked coming late to a PTA meeting and arrived early so she could  hide behind some pillar to see who I talk to. She did this twice.

Key among incidents like these is two of the worst tantrums that they pulled. Dad – because he saw a boy’s name on my phone. Mom – because I asked to spend the night with my friend (a girl) because it was her birthday. Plates were thrown, dinner was abandoned and she sped up to her room, crying because I stubbornly wanted to go.

And then when I had to go on my next trip, I lied. And everything became super easy for me. I have had an educational excuse for every trip since then. And I realised I don’t have to deal with any of their tantrums at all because I was saving them the trouble of having to educate and bring culture to an ill cultured daughter; by lying to them about where I was going and with whom.

I must confess I take great pleasure in doing this. Even now as I am typing all of this, I cannot help but feel a little proud of myself for having done what I did. But, there is a but. The fact that I am an adult now and should be able to do what I want to without having to lie. Or the fact that there are days when I wonder if really telling them the truth would be so bad. Or the fact that maybe at some level I am still scared of them which is why I feel the excessive need to lie and cover up my flaws – which is that I am not as mature as I would like to be.

I don’t know if I’ll ever grow out of this phase. But I can see that I can only move forward if I forgive them and myself and realise that no matter how many tantrums they threw I still did everything that I wanted to. And that hasn’t changed at all.

Runaway Granny!

This is a story that I have wanted to tell for some time now. I didn’t really know it was a story so I didn’t bother looking there all this while.  It became a story this morning when I eavesdropped on a conversation that my mother and sister were having about my grandmother. My father has always thought that I am like his mother. It’s like this general consensus that I’ve grown up listening to. Now that I think about it, everytime I expressed a stubborn desire to do something that nobody approved of, I was told that I am like her. For the longest time, in fact even until before 2 months, this was offensive to me. This comparison. Everytime someone wanted to make me feel bad and  wanted to make me stop ‘wanting’ something I could not have, either because I was too young or because I was a girl, I was told that I am like my Grandmother.  It was said in a tone to put me back in my place.

I don’t remember having spent much time with her except for our long morning walks together in Belgaum. My grandmother is the quietest person I have met.  Too much has been said about her in the houses that I grew up in. Too much more has been said about her in the houses of my mother’s sisters. Stories of torture and stubbornness and arrogance and my mother’s silent battle against this woman who made life hell for her. This is the story that was told to me by everybody who knew her. I see another story here though. I don’t know much of her past and whether or not she was happy in her marriage, whether or not she liked her children but I do know that she liked being on her own. She wasn’t much of a talker, didn’t like small talk, ate on her own, watched TV on her own and stuff. And these were things that she was constantly being judged for.

Women who like their space are never liked in this family. It’s only now I realise how strong she was/is to stand up to all these fellows. Now I can see why my father and I have issues. He’s trying hard to tame me and I am trying harder to run away. Everybody hated her for how often she wanted to run away everytime there was a fight at home.  And god knows how much my mother wants to silence of the lambs me everytime I mention wanting to live alone. It scares them.  When women in my family think of running away as an option, scares the crap out of them.

I think my granny was unhappy  because she couldn’t be by herself and when I think of how much she could have had if only she was born a generation later; it makes me want to hug my parents so I immediately stop thinking dangerous things like that. I look at what I have now and how much more I can have, if only I stop being a lazy chicken and start work on my escape plan.

I think she was fond of me but she liked my sister better because she was the good one.  See, that’s the crazy thing. I don’t know how these things work.  Anyhow, think how much she would have loved to have a room of her own.  Think how many more people she could have pissed off if she had lived alone, just the way she wanted to. Especially my father. Strange strange family. I have daddy issues and he has mommy issues. But she actually has no issues.  She would have been a happy person if everybody just left her alone! If only she could have run away.

 

Heee Hawww!

I finished all my valuations today. Too soon, this time. Exactly a year before I was struggling to finish a paper in 30 minutes. Not that I’m an expert now. Just feel really relieved that my vacations have begun. Heeee Hawww! Part of this miracle happened because my first writing group meeting happened last Saturday and I was afraid that I will not be able to make it so some mad speedy person took over and I ransacked 40 papers, my best so far. I am slightly proud because somewhere in between this madness I also took care of 2 other equally nasty deadlines. Somebody from College called to say something about tax and declaration so I ran to the bank like a madwoman to get that fixed. I am mighty zapped after the weekend. Too much happened off.

My writing group meeting went well. In that, I read out my piece and nobody died or expressed desire to kill me. Maybe they were all just really polite. Next week, we do a writing activity. I am looking forward to it! I am super excited about the holidays this time because too much has happened/ is happening in me, with me and I can’t allow anything to get in the way. I want to see where this takes me. I am beginning to like the new me.

Anyhow, now that all my time is mine, I want to fruitlessly make a list because making lists is fun even though not one thing gets done. This semester, I am to teach Shakespeare to these kids. Maybe I should begin with that. Or maybe I should finish reading Llosa. Man! I suck.

 

Something is itching in my mind. I need to go. Short story anyone?

To Ashish

I started writing because I wanted to hide from my mother. I needed a space that could be only mine, that nobody wanted because they didn’t know it existed. It gave me some kind of thrill to hide when I was wanted the most. I treasured those moments when I could just hide and watch them look for me. To not be seen when they were frantically looking for you gives you some kind of sadistic authority over yourself and your space. Some similar kind of thrill was transferred onto that moment when I first wrote a full sentence. For those kind souls who do read my blog, you may remember a boy named ‘Ashish’ that I mentioned in a post titled ‘Poof’. For all the times I have fallen in and out of love with god knows how many people, I remember Ashish very well. He was chubby (just the way I like ’em even to this day) and had brown, wavy hair. In all that time that I was in love with him, he must have glanced at my direction once, maybe twice. We never talked to each other.

So him and Rashmi (also a girl I was in love with) were friends and it seemed like he spent all of his life with her. This drove me insane one evening and I wanted terribly to do something about it. I did the only thing that I felt like doing. I wanted to write “I hate you Ashish” hoping it would help me out of feeling lost and small. And where did I write this bit? On a wall in my Mother’s bedroom. I don’t know why I picked her room. I didn’t really pick actually. I remember I had a red pen in my hand and I was in her room and I just walked up to the wall and wrote it. In awfully small font. So small that even if everyone in the world would overlook it, my mother would read it. Because I wrote it and it was THAT small so she had to know what I was hiding (?) from her no?

The woman bawled my name out soon as she read it demanding to know why I had written what I had written. I remember feeling terrified when I had to explain it  to her. So I made up some gibberish and ran away. That may have just been the first of the many ‘Explain yourself’ encounters I was going to have with my mother in future. But I remember feeling devilishly happy because I had managed to piss her off. That episode triggered so much pleasure in me that I decided to keep a journal in some freudian hope that she would read it and be annoyed.

That’s how and why I found writing. It became my most sought out hiding place and promised me guilty pleasures like hiding and watching someone looking for me, hiding and watching someone read what I have written and other such nonsense. Eventually, writing has helped me move closer to the woman I want to become, even though I don’t know who the hell that is.

Valuation Blues

So it is *that time of the year* at college. Blee. Meaning, endless shifts between invigilating and valuing papers, mad cravings for what used to be long island iced teas at Plan B but are now replaced by seven kingdoms at Monkey bar, getting up every now and then, while correcting papers, cursing the god damned weather, making crazy promises to self and the others about doing away with 40 papers a day and eventually correcting about 3.

Finished about 20 today, which is not bad actually because yesterday I finished 3. Today I thanked myself for not being married. It was 5:00 pm and I was still in college; working, and suddenly I was bowled over by the freedom it is to not be married. I could be anywhere I wanted to be. At the movies, at monkey bar, at BCL, at commercial street doing some useless thing, anywhere but home. I could go home too but the beauty of not having someone to wait up for you or keep calling you to know when you’ll be home is the most beautiful freedom. I wish I don’t have to let go off this space. Ever.

Gazebo

My standard reaction to all the bullies in my life so far has been; first, to please them, then to obsess about them which then leads to a 100 different self pitying scenarios in my head, bitching about them, rehearsing award winning ‘screw you’ speeches and never finding the balls to narrate it, making them twice as big in my head, and therefore invincible, isolating them from humaneness thereby removing them from whatever little good they might actually be capable of and finally, confronting them and unfriending them or wait to be unfriended by them on Facebook.

It is true that while bullies come in all manner of sizes and appearances, sometimes even as best friends, they aren’t as strong as our minds make them out to be. I have had a completely unproductive day today but yet here I am, relaxing and thinking about all the bullies that came in and went from my life. I am supremely happy that some of them left, just as happy as I am about the fact that I am still friends with some. It is very difficult to not gloat about the miseries they find themselves in right now while thinking about all the misery they caused me at one point, but I try. And today my ex-bullies mean nothing to me. Not so much because they stopped being bullies but because my priorities changed and so did my vulnerabilities. What few things were so important to me once upon a time mean nothing to me now. People who built themselves a 3 BHK flat with balconies in my head are now far far away in their own 3 BHKs with balconies. Sadly, when they left, other people occupied. And now I can hear them building fucking gazebos in my head.

Never mind this post. Some mad writing spree suddenly took over and I didn’t want to wreck it. Because if you ask me writing crap is better than not writing at all. At least, I’m still writing.

The month that wasn’t

I Signed up for a writing group with a bunch of kick-ass writers. Don’t know why I did that. Maybe I am not all that fond of myself. Anyway, I have already told them I’ll bring them cookies every time I have to read something I have written. I am very excited about the writing group. We are to meet once in two weeks and because of what now seems like a blunder I made 9 years ago, I couldn’t attend the first meeting. I don’t want to write about it yet because I will have no energy to look for my dongle in the middle of the night (which is usually when I feel like deleting myself off the face of the internet) to plug it in to this damn net book to delete the blunder post.

In other news, I seem to have made good progress on the whole ‘small talk’ nonsense. I asked a colleague out for drinks and I ended up having a fab time. My ‘seasonal bronchitis’ has left me alone so I didn’t really have to worry about the smoke. I really liked talking to her. We’ve also sort of made plans for our reading list over the summer. So ambitious no?

Sadly, I have also realized what a useless douche bag I am. This month I learnt that I am incapable of living alone. So at least for sometime now I will not play the ‘leaving home’ nonsense. It is because I can’t manage my money. I am broke even before the tenth of every month, even on months that I get my salary on the 7th!

Also, I am beginning to see Richard and Emily differently. Meaning they aren’t all that bad. For now. It seems like my mother and I are capable of having real conversations. She did make an attempt today. Maybe my relationship with my parents doesn’t have to be bad. I can talk to them about stuff liking living away in sometime.

My membership with the British library can come to its fullest use over the vacations. I am a terrible planner owing to which I couldn’t plan my visits there properly. This has also made me see why I need more alone time more than I think I do. Alone time makes me calmer somehow and I get to plan my month better.

 

 

Bunch of tuesdays strung together

I woke up this morning all happy at the thought of being able to sit at my desk all day and read. It’s the exam season so I have nonsense invigilation dooty. Today and tomorrow however I am free. Smile. I like planning these free days with full energy. Nothing happens after that though. So I got here at 9:30, didn’t make coffee and started work on my blog. Redesigned and added a few more pages. I am happy with how it looks for now. Then I made my Bucket List and read it out to Mini.

Some things on my list are blah. Most of them I’ll never do but I want to. One or two I badly want to do but I don’t know how I can do it. Like getting pregnant for day and becoming somebody’s wife for a day. Who will want to marry me for a day ya?

Thoo.

Why isn’t PhD on my list? If my research life had a face, it would look like the receptionist at Hotel Decent in Jab We Met; hopeful, funny and grinning. What is this green bag shit anyway? I should call my blog I am sorry. While I am typing this away, 2 of my acquaintances are traveling all by themselves in Barcelona and Paris. Not acquaintances actually, just people I sort of stalk on FB. Don’t mind this post. I suddenly remembered my 500 day challenge and decided to write something. I have no idea why I am still writing. It’s a warm day, very regular and all. C.A is sitting in front of me looking marveled at his new landscapes picture book. Every 5 minutes he looks up at me and says ‘Phew! Look at this!’ And I look.

Valuation begins tomorrow so that means I now have 15 days of excuse to not write. Meh.

My reading list is already looking mad at me. Let’s see how this one goes.

Sundays

I like Sundays. I like walking into a familiar space at home and realising that I have never seen it before.  I like not having to hurry up stuff because I don’t have to be anywhere. I like moving furniture around just to see if it will look as good as it did in my head. I like the rare quietness that the home offers to me on Sunday afternoons. I like Sunday afternoons. They seem like dramatic twilights before my life begins the next day. Today I noticed that the doorbell buzzer is right above the showcase. I have lived here 5 years and I had no idea where the door bell buzzer was. I went up to my terrace today to find that all the plastic chairs have withered and died. The plants looked sprightly and the table looked dusty. I like dust because then I have something to clean. I like watching the sunlight stealing into the room’s warmth. Today it picked all of my big books, ones that I have not read and don’t plan to. It threw out a brilliant dash of color on the ceiling as it touched all of my books. Sometimes, when I feel like I may never see this again, I take a picture.

 I don’t like having early baths on Sundays. I like saving it for the end of the day, unlike the other days when I’m madly obsessive about not stepping out of the house without having bath. The bathing time on Sunday is all mine. I get to pick happy thoughts to think about while I shower. I have time to look at the yellow on ceiling tiles. I have time to smile at the broken switch that I usually curse on other mornings. Mental note: need to get the switch fixed. It’s not long before I realise that I have tons of things to do so I make a list. Pointless, but important because lists made in the bathroom are always life altering. If I stuck to every vow made to myself in the bathroom, had the balls to go back to my past to tell mean people exactly what I think about them; sticking word by word to my award winning  speech rehearsed in the bathroom, I would be the same person, only happier. Maybe even be able to write better.

Sometimes I think I like myself better only when I’m having bath. Because I make sexy plans and am so much cooler when I am in the bathroom than when I step out into the real world with leaves and everything. When I do step out, I like settling down on the sofa and watching nonsense on the television. I like putting my feet up on the table and watching TV. I don’t like sharing this space with anybody.  Every now and then I like to look out of the window to see leaves falling. I don’t know what this tree is called. It is huge and has pink flowers. I have seen it every day of my life for the past 5 years, except when I am not in town. I must find out what it’s called. Why am I so used to seeing these things every day? Where do my weekdays go? What do I think of when I’m looking at this tree on other days?

Madness I tell you…

She was always doing two things at once. Like this morning for instance when she was brushing and trying to locate her mobile charger. Quite often she would realise how much of her life she took for granted and soon after she realised she would start making lists about what else she could do to enjoy more.

She liked the hurry burry that each morning promised, it made her feel important, like she was getting dressed to get to some place important and therefore on time. She took her job rather seriously and the time she spent getting ready for the job even more seriously. It disheartened her to see that nobody saw how much effort was going in to get ready for her job. My aunts whispered to each other about the danger that is to allow young women like her to work. ‘She’s 30 and still unwed. We don’t want another Vineethakka in our home’, they would say.

Unwed women in our family like many others’ are used as a tale of caution to educate young girls about the importance of getting married and how miserable it is to stay alone. I have never met Vineethakka. Never even seen her actually but she’s a well known name in our house and the houses of my girl cousins. I was 12 when I first heard about Vineethakka. My mother and my aunts were deciding my future and told me that I was getting married at 20. I blushed because back then I liked marriage but didn’t want to seem too keen so I said that it was too early. My aunt said that vineethakka still blames them for not forcing her into marriage.

I sometimes wonder if Vineethakka is ever as miserable as she is made out to be. It is crazy how everybody started out to make a lesson out of her but she proved to be more of an inspiration to my sisters and me. I can still only make my decision about her after I meet her. What if she is actually miserable? If in case she is not then what language, what form of sane communication can I use to tell them that marriage could just be an option?

My family is full of crazy women. Their peculiarity is super amusing to me. Take my aunt for instance who starts beating her chest wildly if I miss a step while getting down the damn staircase or my mother who seems perfectly normal when she isn’t around her sisters but grows a whole family of hormones when she is around them. My fears have ranged from not wanting to become like them and to the growing possibility of becoming like them and finding it normal.