Despite all you gave me

I often wonder about life before the internet. This is not as far from the present as I would like it to be. It has only been about 7 years since, i have had fully functional internet, and it has given me so much to learn over the past few years. I have grown immensely, made so many friends and got so big with this marvel.

However, the thought keeps coming back to me, what if it was not like that. If I did not have the internet.

I believe that we would have found a way. Communications increase no matter how and where you reside and you grow like that. If e-mail did not exist, we would still send scented love letters, and the novelty of meeting new friends will still be there. We will call on unknown numbers and find out stuff through text messages.

The thing is internet changes stuff. it gives you a lot of knowledge and other things but, it takes away the personal touch. Faced with the cartload of choice you forget the experience of actually having someone be in front of you telling you something they are interested about. You forget about poetry readings at midnight which smell of old books and steam and you don’t dream a lot.
That is not meant to be.

I love my internet but, I miss being alone among a sea of friends, talking to someone special about a poem I read, and writing stuff down and showing it to people day in and day out.

So, that is it I guess, I will  miss you, but, I will survive.

Because that’s what humans do

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

The Argonauts and a meditation on Sexuality

While reading “The Argonauts” by Maggie Nelson I had the image I once had while I was high bursting open through my head. It was a demon again, in the shape of a man I have recently been infatuated it. Long hairs, long fangs, all boring into me pulling me onto myself, folding time and life into intricate folds of passion. It was a vision of me that I suppressed, this is not something you tell your friends, it is not normal, it is not something they would associate themselves with. Then again, it is simply expressed by how we explain bisexuality to some friends of ours, “You know, it does not matter what genitalia they carry because I am attracted to the ass”, however, it is not like that.

“The Argonauts” is not simple either. It is not possible to contain it with simple connotations of good and bad, it is beyond that. I believe that poets are the hardest souls to categorise on any given day anyway. This book will probably come under romance, or probably even poetry. It is a look with the author’s relationship with the world really, with motherhood, with people, with Harry. Harry, her partner in this journey is an enigmatic personality, it’s a joy to see the image he draws, it’s terrifying to see the world with the lens of a person who has been in literature so long.

In one long paragraph she tells us of Harry how the Ms. had to be fixated onto the name because otherwise, New York Times would not publish the article written about the person. A prison released and another built because there is no other way about it. It made me realise how scary classification, labelling becomes and how some times our complexity cannot be treated simply with one word or a few. For me “The Argonauts” is not simply a meditation of a person and their relationships, it is the eternal meditations we all have, this urge of breaking free that we all cherish in our souls.

You see that is just it. I don’t want to conform anymore, to the traditional ideas of relationship at the very least. I wish to love for the sake of loving and that some days requires a partner and some days it does not. Some days are whole night orgies in to the beats of a Ginsberg poem, and other nights are days where I would torture my soul till it breaths out of myself. I wish to leave gashes on the lovers body, a mark of me, a territorial cut of the wolf, and I wish to leave lipstick marks on his or her soul that they would not be able to erase. I want to do this all for myself, not because some guy imagines me this way.

I do not seek validation for my passions from you in the form of labels. I wish for you to understand me yes, but, I also want you to understand that most days understanding my sexuality is not a study in academia but, simply a practice in letting go.

Words have a power to free, and they have a power to contain you forever into their boxes.

In a passage where she describes Schyumayer, the author goes into talking about the flaccidity and impotence. It is left there to hang, and his poetry is a testament to that.

We’re obsessed with different things. I am supposed to like the breasts and labia and I appreciate them but, I don’t like them. I do not love the male genitalia either. I like the body and the way it fits into pieces of a puzzle when it is late at night. I am turned on by the birth mark down the side of my butt that watches the open worlds hoping that someone would find it and bestow a kiss.

Heck, even kisses change. I wish that some days I could kiss like the whirlwind my lover and I lost in the intricacies, and other days it is me softly bending over the mirror to leave behind a lipstick mark that I spend the other half of the day in erasing.

Conformations hurt I believe, because we are not chemical structures bound to reacting in the same way.
There is a talk about a performance artist who through her act of blowing dildos to the eternal tune of rude voices repeating “Suck it”, “You bitch” and other expletives, and yet, she only gets up to receive prizes and adoration. She was a prostitute earlier, but, the performance, her past, does not define her now. She is more and she is complex.

We’re human before we are fitted into any of our labels. Some days my sexuality is not defined, my love for a person might be more than my love for a person overreaches the conformations that my labels give to me. Thus, labels can’t describe me, I’m not a bisexual I am a terrible poetry written out in anger and passion over the face of my lover with yesterday night’s ejacuate. Yes, that is me, unadorned by labels, thorns and roses and erotic.

Our freedoms are just as precious as yours and it is not something we should get along with cages, however, spacious you might think them to be at the end of the day.

I want you to read “The Argonauts” but, do not approach it as a riddle you have to unravel. A life is more than that at the very least. Approach it with an open mind, let it take it to places she has visited. The literature that has embodied her, and listen to those pieces.

I want you to see beyond my sexuality, give me a chance to be more by opening your eyes and seeing my whole being.

Read Maggie like you would read poetry. If you have time, give me that chance too.

I should have found Tea Obrehdt by any case. She was not an author who had attracted me, and she definitely did not attract me at the first sight. Yet, as I stood before the monuments created by second hand books, I found “The Tiger’s Wife” alluring, and there I was reading it at 6 AM in the morning with my heart content like it hadn’t been since, forever.

It is not that I loved the book too much, or even that I am going to recommend it to everyone I know. It’s just that, it was something I never thought I would read, and I did end up reading her. As I did with Elena Ferrante, suddenly she was in my radar, and I found a copy of her book with me, and I felt like that was quite inexplicable. Then, I read about her and I was in love.

In the era of curated lists and online content which is at the tip of our fingers, we have somehow become less experimental. Stuck in the endless cycle of recommendations which are maintained by algorithms and a media which highlights only select books throughout the year, we never experiment. We don’t go the one step farther.
It’s scary really, as an author, as a person, to see that before me, the endless possibilities dying because we just won’t go out of our zone.

Problem remains that reading things that show the world in colors that we think it already is dangerous. For most times the only reason we do not accept other people is because we have never seen their viewpoints. It is scary really. Works of art are a lesson in real life and that helps us.

Maybe, I am not educated about the Balkan states by reading “The Tiger’s WIfe” and probably Elena Ferrante is not going to make me fall for Italy. Yet, it had given me an outlook to the world I did not cultivate earlier, and that aids me in understanding them better, seeing them better.

We need to peek out of the covers and stare at the world around us, and read new things. It could begin with a visit to the library or to a second hand book shop. Something where you have the world before you and you go towards a stranger book with a smile on your face. Some times you need to take a jump to find the romance at your lips and that is necessary.

Of Poetry

I crashed yesterday. I guess I should have seen it coming. It started with me getting tense and getting those small chest pains and then suddenly, I was suffocating all over, the broken glasses dug into the shallow skin of my life. So, this is me now, sick and tired, so tired that I can’t go to the parade even. On the other hand though poetry has caught me, and that is leaving me scared, because no matter what they say, poetry does not catch you like…

He came out of the woods
An window we could visualise
If only we kept an open mind
And in a moment we realised
That we’re all flying

It comes in differently, like

A blizzard through the night sky
Snowflakes that pierce into your skies
A blue sky into the faltering heart
A tear which is pure pure ice

Which is why I am scared really, because I am crashing and I am poetic and everything is mixing together to create a cocktail of something that  do not quite understand yet. I am trying to put together the pieces which are crumbling sand.

I like putting down depression as an experience, but, it is more really. It is a broken string that keeps playing the same tune again and again and you are muted, unable to move, your hands and legs locked and your motivation a silver line in the sky that is forever melting.

It’s also fear, of failure, of never getting what you want, of always being alone. ANd I cannot give up on that, can’t run away from that.

So, yes, I am crashing and I am writing poetry.

I am also thinking about all the “I Love you”s I would take back from him by the end of this. Because I don’t know how much any of those words meant to me and it is not really about meaning anyway because all of those were spoken with feeling but, feelings are scary things when you are crashing.

So, yes goodbye now

David Bowie: A Goodbye

When the news started breaking in, and I saw the statuses covering my newsfeed, I refused to believe it. Bowie couldn’t have died this way, it was so sane, it was so sudden. I guess the shock came because he was still releasing such beautiful music while, he was facing his death. However, I guess that is the statement he leaves, a performance even in death. Has any artist ever reached that level of creativity? Has any artist confused everyone with the new styles he adopted? Will there be another Bowie again? So many questions, I wish I could answer right now, but, then I cannot.

Bowie won that battle friends. He won that eternal battle between the creator and creation, or maybe he lost the hardest. He became his creation, and his creation became him. And thus, the title of “the chameleon of music”. Heck, we even managed to give a steadfast title to a man who was anything but. He was successful throughout, even if he fell a bit and rose again, he was this person re-inventing himself, again and again until the critics were probably asking the questions they themselves couldn’t answer. This was a man who smiled and made us fall so much in love, someone who put a large question mark before all our sanities, and then validated our insanities in one fell swoop at the very same moment.

He is a hero. Yes, present tense, because I believe that as long as that weird guy is playing his music in his basement and getting inspired he would not be dead. After all, only human life is so fragile, our works of art aren’t. That is the hope I pin on Bowie, that he will live on. And 20 years after, while, working through my old luggage I will find his music again. I will inevitably cry at the artist who made me so much more. I would say a thousand words to me, and I will go mad, once more for a moment or two.

You see, this is not goodbye. This is an invitation. Love, chameleon, wherever you are. You are welcome to my madness, as you welcomed us to yours.
And I shall remember you Starman, goodnight.
Adieu

“Wazir”, A Review

Last day was tiring for a lot of reasons. Mother dear called me while, I was having lunch and told me that my dad had been hospitalized. That was followed by the usual feeling of helplessness and pain that often follows the student who is forced to study outside. I just could not hop on a train and get there and take care of him in any way.

Then again, I saw this movie yesterday. “Wazir” is a movie that holds promise at the very least even if it does not really live up to it all throughout.
While, the characters are quite lovely on pen and paper, on screen the transition is kind of clunky. Sadly, this is not the fault of the actors at all. Farhan Akhtar and Amitabh Bacchan both give stellar performances.

Yet, the script falters. It meanders endlessly in the first half and despite a brilliant set up that promises to deliver, in second half it just becomes a sort of a mess, with glaring plot holes everywhere.

The emotional impact of the film is put on the backfoot by the director to make the point with chess while, both could be interlinked in a beautiful way. And in a film which has such emotional ingredients that is quite a sad thing.

Then again one can only marvel at the acting and the set pieces. There are some images which stay with you as you leave the movie hall an some questions that eat at you.

I’m sorry for the short post, am thoroughly sad today

A bit of a beginning

“They used to say they met at a house-party. It was true for neither of them of course…”
The waitress smiled at her as she put the last dish for the party onto the table.
“Yes, Anna, would you care to listen?”
Anna ran a hand through her buzz cut hair and looked at the exquisitely dressed woman before her.
“Sure, Miss Gauri, someday…”
Gauri trailed behind Anna’s walk for a while before she sighed. Then she looked at the people around her table, and resumed the story.
“So… Yeah as I said. Neither of them were telling the truth of course. He was that one guy on a dating website who was invariably put into the “Too high for me” folder, and she was the only girl he had ever looked at seriously in all the years of college. Then, ofcouse the house party happened. She was wearing… Umm… You know one of those low neck__”
“Um Gauri, could I have a refill.”
She looked at the face of the moustached man. She didn’t like parties and this was why. Her eyes trailed off to the one guy not wearing a suit, her best friend, slowly messing with the food.
She didn’t like parties anymore.
“Yeah…”
She put a handkerchief on her face and wiped away the oil.
“Hey, Anna? Bring the wine please?”
She tried her best not to look at the waitress whose complexion had taken a red tone because of the kitchen heat.
“Ma’am?”
Gauri noticed the red lipstick and her nails done in blue. She smiled to herself and looked the mirror again.
In a hurry she pulled the kerchief over her face again.
“Ma’am,wine?”
“Yeah, sure.”
As Anna hurried back to the kitchen, Gauri looked at her way again.
“She wore one white low necked gown and deep red lipstick. And he wore a suit…”
She narrated the story with small interruptions and ended the dinner. As the party dissolved itself in dream she stood apart and corrected her saree again.
“You look perfect.”
“Thanks Reetzi.”
He towered over her, 6 feets of height. Yet, he could be childish. Who else would wear a hoodie to a formal party?
“I look specifically out of place darling.” He sipped on his neat whiskey.
“And you didn’t utter a word during dinner.”
“You had me in your awe.”
She smiled at him and hugged him ever so slightly, before letting go. It had been too long.
“You never come to the friends meeting.”
“They are not as important anymore.”
Gauri sat on the verandah sit, and stared at Ritzy. A stubble that was overgrown, the ruined hoodie, and the… She moved away from his shirt and to his face again.
He came in close and removed the one stray hair on her face.
She remembered the warmth ever too well.
“So tell me about you.”
“It has been fun, honestly speaking. Everything has been fun.”
“You don’t look fun love.”
He smiled and sat beside her.
The lone one door overlooked the bar. As the list of overdressed guests went ahead and ordered drinks, Anna looked positively flustered.
Gauri stared at her for a moment. Extras were a comfort, but, leaving her would be so strange, so unfulfilling.
She looked at the man in the hoodie, and sighed.
“So, you’re leaving.”
She wondered why she always messaged him like that, when she was too far along.
“Yeah, it’s an overseas job and everything so.”
“And then what? What about the friendship?”
She imagined him laughing then, and setting down to write this at the back of the party.
“We won’t work out, not like that Gauri. You know that, you’ve known that all along.”
She didn’t message after that. It took her two years though, to get over that silly notion. When everyone else tells you that it is love, you kind of believe it, and he had been so sweet. Even if it would have not been completely fulfilling__
“Go ahead and flirt with her.”
Half burnt cigarette in hand, Ritzie looked out to the street.
“Ritz…”
“I notice the looks Gauri, come on, how long will you hide this. You’re old enough.”
“But, everything about that, and all that.. And you…”
“You only told me because you were lonely at this party honey, and you see none of those guests need you.”
“I am…”
“You always looked cute when you blushed crimson, and I knew it too, that’s part of why I left. It was hard being in love with someone that__”
“I was in love though.”
He put his cigarette out and turned onto her face. His brown eyes shone in the tubelight. Ever so slightly, he pecked her on the forehead.
“You were only in love because we expected you to be. Now, you have fulfilled all of our expectations love, go fulfill yours.”
She stared at his face and turned away to look at the crowd again, they were calming down. The drinks were ending too.
“We spent our fair amount of time here didn’t we?”
“We did.”
Ritzie looked at the door, and got up to leave.
“Ritz…”
“Gauri, it’s not polite to call someone back when they are leaving.”
“Goodbye.”
“Buh bye hon, I will see you when things are less formal.”
As he left, Anna walked in with a tray filled with drinks.
“Uh, ma’am are you OK?”
“Yes, yeah…”
Gauri picked up the large whiskey oeg, and drank it in one large gulp.
“If you want, we have some finger food left ma’am.”
“Will you stay here Anna?”
“Yes, yeah.”
Anna stared at her boss, so exquisitely dressed and yet, so sad. The crowd thinned out as they do always.
“Ma’am, uh, if you don’t need me anymore…”
“Anna, will you stay the night?”
Anna looked over at her with interest, and then ran her hand through the hair. It would be nice to stay in this apartment, but, then again, there probably was no space, and she had work and…
“I will arrange everything, the work, and all. I just need you to.”
Anna took up a wine glass and drank it ever so slowly.
“Ma’am, will you tell me one of your stories?”
“Only if you call me Gauri.”
She smiled a little, and sat down beside her. The apartment was emptying and the caterers were cleaning out what was left.
Gauri laid her head on Anna’s shoulder.
“This one’s about a woman Anna, she hasn’t met her soulmate yet…”

Audre Lorde, A Discussion about Feminism

I am sorry I misjudged Audre Lorde so early on. First glance at the book, and I felt distanced, I felt like she had nothing to offer me. What would a Black lesbian woman offer to a gay man living in India?
I received “Sister Outsider”, a collection of essays and speeches by Audre Lorde as a birthday present from NJSays, who has been a constant companion, and a sister through the difficult and writer-y years of my life. And I decided that making it the first book of the year was only fair.
The first chapter seemed to re-affirm my beliefs too, while I enjoyed the Russian landscapes rolling by my mind, and seeing their social structures, I could feel that her voice was way too harsh for me.

However, throughout the book, I have fallen inexplicably in romance with her writing and her voice. What Lorde encourages is conversation, which I believe is very necessary in this case. Throughout the years it seems that we have forgotten the simple power of conversation, of togetherness between people of the same community. This causes our movements to fail. When you are fighting among yourselves you are definitely losing the war with the oppressors.

This is not a difficult thought pattern to come into. Brotherhood and sisterhood within communities is needed for any movement to succeed and when you exclude someone for being a bit different from you, that means you have ensured a larger loss too.

Then, there is the talk about us and them. How even Lorde feels difficult to converse with white women because no matter how she expresses her opinion, the white woman will be more comfortable if it was by some peer of her own race. How we automatically try to silence some thoughts, because they come from someone who is inherently different from us. This is the distance I felt when I first encountered this book. The understanding of differences is very crucial to our understanding of these issues, of our inspection of these issues.

When Lorde spoke of the power of the erotic it moved me. For, I have been speaking about this as well. We have been made to hate our own bodies, hate sensuality and romance and told that it can only be a certain way. I agree with her stance on pornography, about how it is so completely separate from the erotic.
Sexuality, passion, all these are vital elements of our being, and yet, it has been suppressed much too long. As Lorde speaks of this, I feel a kind of solidarity with her, which, I did not expect at all.

Then again, the topic comes back to sisterhood, to communication and love between people. This book addresses that and I understand it too. Talking of feminism, anger should play a part in it. People should be angry about these things. This is something I say from my place of privilege as a man too. For, talking about this without rage, without passion makes the talks a failure. This is what Lorde is too me, beyond a woman who is an eloquent author, she is a black lesbian poet who is filled to the brim with passion about the movements she is a part of.
I have the same anger, and yet, I am not as vilified as the women who support feminism would have. I could go right into the night with outrage, and it will still be the women who would be painted into memes and posters which mock them.

Lorde’s book is relevant in this context. Far from a preaching it seems to be based on understanding the reasoning behind the movement, the passion that ignites the flame. When she talks of the dynamic between the sisters, where she is rejected for being a lesbian, there is pain in her voice.
She would be pained too, seeing the LGBT community failing to include bisexual people, seeing a lack of representation of colored LGBT people.

We are a voice that is not brought out much and that needs to be changed. Our viewpoints need to bend to include other people, and we need to lend a voice to our feelings, as well, as lend an ear to the voice of others. As Lorde says, silence won’t protect us from the eventual death.

The Year that has Gone

2015 was supposed to be a tough year but, looking back it really hasn’t been that tough. Right now, as I sit with a smug smile on my face I just remember that this year has been hard and good at the same time.
It started hopelessly, but, over the days it has become much much better, and every single day has been worth it.

And to think that I might not have made it this far because I was sitting with a cup of bleach during the world cup of 2014.

It turned out better than I supposed that it could ever be and that is something I cannot even begin believing in the spectacle it has been.

So, yeah, let me immerse myself in happiness

Happy New Year