Half-written notebook

Because on the third evening
While, you sang songs out of a book
That had almost lyrics but, was still insecure
I was looking for kisses amidst half winters
And your frail fingers searched for cigarettes instead
So, when the pain went away
And the smoke cleared slowly off the dress
I wore pink, and you wore blue
And the ball flew out into the darkness
What a gall we had back then
Romance just a broken concept
Without works, without words
I could never lay beside you
And yet, I pretended to love just because I had to
Have someone who could hold me close
As the rains came down every 5th of November
But, before rains fell, you were on a cab
And the train leaving the station became the platform I was lying in
Dreaming of stars and equality and the promises
Which I had written down in quick successions
Amidst poetry that sought out the body of men

So, tell me today
Before I go out to that street
And chart a song for the masses to endure
Do you remember pink lipsticks
Or have they all become red?
And do you think black is still ghastly?
because those are the boots I am wearing
And I know you don’t sing the blues
So, I wrote you a jazz lyric
on the back of a maths copy that screams out in contempt
You wrote your number with half remaining ink oozing out
The ball point pen lies forgotten on a back seat
Somewhat of loneliness

Does the forest look as good as the grass
Before we went away?
Or is the brass
Breaking down again
I know the train runs still
And your fingers, not so frail
Are seeking out a soul
I would surrender mine
But, you would rather have a poem won’t you?


The Black pigeon Speaks False

Today, me and my friend were left looking at a video that left us basically in awe with it’s regressive views. So, as is usual, we entered into a feminist and political view of the entire deal. So, me and Shivangi sat down and discussed the video below to well, find out what was wrong with it.

Me : OK, so what are your primary thoughts? For me the video performs quite a few fallacies, there have been several countries where enforced monogamy is the norm (*cough* India *cough), where the economic situation has not seen uniform growth over the years and has in fact in the long term, only benefited from the outside trade. Also, equation sexual liberation with the political ideologies of the left is naivete. Historically, as well as recently, the left has routinely stood up for women’s rights, and sexual liberation has played a key part in it. Also, let us remember that there have been countries with high levels of gender equality, which have offered a multicultural approach to Islam and have worked their way. So, the correlation, however, positive cannot account for the causation. The prime example of course is the Danish government, which despite having one of the most sexually liberated, and gender equal societies in Europe has remained staunchly against immigration. Which by definition of scientific research makes the entire debate moot.

S : The perspective of the narrator is completely wrong. He is looking at everything from a biological point of view and not social.

Me : So, as we scientifically disprove this false ideal we also have to question the sources he is using, a 1936 book cannot account for recent economic trends and of course the developing nations with new trade opportunities are growing at a faster rate than developed countries where the trade opportunities have become limited in scope. However, there has been a scope for development still, USA is still growing in the business sector, the sexually liberated and free bordered EU countries have seen growth too

S : Also the comparison of Vietnamese and Nazi incidents with the Syrian refugees is not only stupid but also blatantly racist. The women who married the enemies were just in a social position where they could take advantage and they did like any man would have as well.

Me : Of course, the biological perspective sans any social context puts things at a backseat, traditionally, men have sought out women with larger hips and larger breasts because they were indicators of greater fertility, but, in the context of a steady growth of population and an already overpopulated world, the concept of a monogamous family as a production unit of children holds no purpose and is quite archaic.

S : Where he brings in the 87% women orgasm during rape. That doesn’t prove that women naturally seek more aggressive men.

Me : A lot of American soldiers would have had relations with Vietnamese men, this was not seeking out the enemy, historically this was to protect the family from the oppression, I believe we can find studies and books written about the same

S : Because by that logic we can also say that a lot of men get erections during rape so they like aggressive women as well.

Me : Sexual arousal is a bodily response to penetration and other things, it is removed from the consensual basis of a relationship that should be established. there are psychological repercussions

S : Exactly

Me : This disproves the aggressive men theory

S : Plus people have different personalities on bed and in public.

Me : Also, it is a moot point that women tend to have rape fantasies, because by consenting to have those fantasies women essentially want sex that is consensual. This cannot be equated to rape.

S : The most irritating part for me was the author’s 80% and 40% part. He clearly ignored the fact that maybe the women were lesser in quantity.

And of the rest 60% of men maybe some were not interested in Heterosexuality.

Me : Also, the fact that polygamy was an accepted social norm in the older societies and that monogamy is a recent construct which basically created the family as a production unit has been noted in Marxist philosophies for such a long time.There is positive evidence that colonization of the older cultures particularly in native America was when the monogamy as the accepted norm started there, there is actual documented evidence of this

S : Exactly. And moreover the sex ratio has not always been equal.

Me : Basically, the construct of civilized society has been so influenced by colonization it is very difficult to construct a narrative where you can account for a part where a polygamous society or a society where the women were more sexually liberated was worse off

S : Also he said that women never built or maintained a civilization. Whose fault is that?

Me : Because as far as I remember, in India particularly, the polygamy and sexual liberation of women, to the point of an entire sexual culture centered around it was when it was showing maximal growth. Of course the colonists did not see it as growth because they were myopic in their views of what growth really meant

S : While the civilization was about to start women did not have an option but to reproduce

Me : Patriarchal societies have routinely not allowed female participation in decision making and with male opinions dominating the media, and the male narrative still dictating a large amount of consumerist society, we cannot construct a view of how a matriarchal society might perform in the real time world

There is simply no credible scientific evidence either way.

S : I like how he keeps saying that he isn’t referring to all women but women as an organism. I have really never seen a sentence contradict itself so much

Me : Woman isn’t an individual organism, the female sex still belongs to homo sapiens and has particularly same base characteristics, despite societal norms dictating behavioral changes and the inherent biological differences almost all female and males of any species have

This other-ing of woman into another separate organism as a whole represents a myopic view in itself and showcases an inherent misogynist view

Out of everything, we can probably understand that the author represents this mindset which is scary. mostly, we debated on the feminist characteristics of the views represented in the video, the inherent xenophobia would need a whole other source.

Virginity : A View From India

The myth surrounding virginity has always astounded me. To degrade a human being into petty categories of “pure” and “impure” on the basis of the sexual experiences they might or might not have implies an objectification that is terribly regressive. I remember a cousin saying, “Would you buy a car that has been used before?” We have not only reduced women into objects, they are consumerist goods, to be sold at an auction on the basis of their purity. It is strange when seen in the context of a changing world which increasingly sees sexual liberation as one of the hallmarks of progressiveness that this regressive notion is rife in apparent progressive groups too, especially in India.

When I was having this discourse in India, a lot of them did not have opinions on the first night in terms of choice, rather, their view was that sex itself is impure. Granted, I study in a place which is not as modernised as my home, and the class factor does come to play. While, sexuality and appreciation is prevalent here (you do find men making uncomfortable comments everywhere, and women do admit to their sexual attractions, however, privately that might be), to speak of it in the open, to open a discussion is seen as naivete. I come from a position of privilege, I have seen people use their sexualities as a weapon as an adolescent and I stand by that. However, in the poor society, the sexualised woman is the outcast, unless, of course, she appears nightly on the TV screen. We would not forgive the ghar ki ladki to indulge in such behaviour, but, the profitable exploitation of a woman by mass media is something we would indulge in. This also is secret, people find it hard admitting, they watch porn, or like masterbation, in that manner at least sexuality is equal.

Inequality peeks through the fringes when the woman who has had sex before is treated merely as a number. The number of people she has fucked, the number of shameful nights she has had. What is so shameful about sex? I have been told that as a person who comes from a modern city, I do not understand. Yet, the quality of the flesh, and the needs are same. We are after all biological beings united by this base same-ness. Whether the maal on TV or the ghar ki ladki, the breasts would not differ so much in composition, and the nerves would still instill erotic imaginations. Not that I want to oppose traditionalist values as a whole, liberation should not mean that you should have to have sex to fit into the world. It merely means having the choice to do what you want. In this society, the choice is subtracted easily, the currency of shame mediating all nteractions between the male and female sex.

The men wish to fuck, they would go extraordinary lengths to court a girl they term “loose” and not shy away from anything on that account. On the other hand, they would choose women who are easily available and dispensable with that knowledge alone. Women are consumerist goods then, and we men are the consumers.

“She is such a slut yaar.”

Easy to say isolatedly, and, easy to categorise females till we are left with categories. “Would you like a Nissan or a Toyota sir?” “Of course you would prefer a virgin, who am I to ask?”

There are myths that obviously need to be tackled here, but, even those myths are so entrenched in objectification of women that it becomes very difficult to give answers without feeling drenched out of everything.

To answer some questions.

No, the woman is not a car.
No the sexual pleasure of yours that you will derive from a tight vagina would not be taken away.

No, a woman is not the number of men she has fucked.

Why the fuck is your ego so fragile?

Shame goes around, and love becomes a currency that is so related to shame that you can seldom tell them apart. I wish I had a solution, but, it’s hard to. Sex education in this country after all should have no mention of sex, and a virgin woman is just easier for them to sell.

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.

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.

For the Women

Right now, at this moment I am taking a break from writing a novel about sexual abuse and the journey has been more or less traumatic. And this isn’t even the first one I have written this year. If there is anything I have realised over the past two years it is the simple fact that sexual abuse is much more common than we think. It takes a simple story, a simple poem, and you hear their  stories, their anger and their sorrow, because they feel an kinship with you.
And that is basically, why I have always been a very vocal advocate against sexual abuse in all forms. For, me the reasons to report any instance of sexual abuse with you or around you is very simple.

You deserve justice 
This is about you, and you matter more than anyone else when you have been made to feel this way. You have to report it because you deserve an escape from the tormentor. Also, it is in your basic right, this person has affected you in a way that will strain you, that will very possibly remain with you for a long long time. So, yes, no matter who did it to you, you deserve justice.

It spreads on

Blaming yourself is easy. Blaming yourself and telling yourself that you are the only one who will ever be affected by someone who sexually abused you is easy. But, even from my personal experience I can tell that the buck does not stop there. And there is always someone else who will be tormented just the same. The courage you would need, that is large and I do not deny that. However, remember that the fight is for a larger world, a safer world. The fight is for every other person you want to protect.

It is closure
Speaking to the survivors group helps a lot, I attest to that. However, you need to understand that knowing that there is a greater authority to deal with these cases. That even if there is no ultimate punishment, the person’s name is no longer untarnished helps. And because you have sought help out in a proper way, you have an unblemished soul. You have done your bit, and trust me that is a good closure. Even if this means you have to overcome your fear of police, you should do this, for yourself, if for no one else

Reporting sexual abuse is very important. And this video tells us about some rights relating to the same

“I’m writing this blog post to support Amnesty International’s#KnowYourRights campaign at BlogAdda. You can also contribute to the cause by donating or spreading the word.”

Re-interpreting Rabindranath

It has been a long while since, I have seen you. The exams and college have kept me relatively busy these past few months and I have missed you all for every single moment of that journey.

Strangely, enough these long nights and terrible days have not be entirely fruitless. For better or for worse, I found a taste for an old artist from my heritage. Yes, like this typical Bengali boy, right now am eating a morning tea as Kishore Kumar sings “Amar Bela je Jay”, and it is making me feel good too.

And last time I went on a date, I sang “Amaro porano jaha chai” while I was walking on the road in celebration. I smiled to the sweetness of the song, I laughed at the versatility of it.

However, I am pretty sure, my Rabindranath is not the same as yours. Like any artist that has ever been, the poet is interpreted by me as a different being, an wholly different entity for me. What appears as merely romantic for you, is sexual for me, and a lot of other songs are songs written to a lover rather, than a God. Perhaps, because I am in that phase of my life, where my sighs command my personality, and where, I fall in love with every fleeting figure in my life.
Rabindranath has evolved for me, as had Sukumar Ray when I first encountered the motley of people at my college, as had Sukanto when I had seen poverty for myself. It has always been a part of growing up I mean, seeing artists change. You discover a second nature of works behind the surface and as you keep scratching, the world that you see is changed more and more.

So, consider my embarrassment when even my mother goes that interpreting Rabindranath sexually, to see it in that spectrum is not done. It is not that I do not get her sentiments. But, can you stare closely at “Purono Sei Diner Kotha” and say that it is meant only for the opposite sex friends you had? Or could it be applied to the childish romance you had staged with your best friends as well?

I mean, Tagore is known for depicting each and every spectrum of life through his music, through his stories. And even if the original intent was not the same, which I am very sure it was not, it can be interpreted as thus. Being an elitish in the matters of interpretation binds the poet into your mental image alone, and by all means you get to hold onto the image that you have of Tagore, but, do not ask me to hold onto your image.
What you drew with charcoal pencils can also be drawn with wax crayons.
This sis something I want you to understand.

Artists, readers, people… All see a poet differently, because poetry is flexible. Poetry is meant to mean different things. And the verse which sings of anger to you, sings to me of pain.

And no interpretation made thus, is terrible.

Some sexism

Why is having sex with a woman?

Every time I have been in my hostel the main topic has often been about having sex with some girl. About how wonderful the feeling was. Yet, most of the times it is not appreciation that follows but, simple slangs. The point it seems, is to reduce the woman to her genitalia and breasts, and to erase everything else completely.o

How many times was it this time?

I think three-four, all people who met with women and had sex, and made it a point to brag. Heck, I liked the bragging but, then the inevitable slangs follow. The person they had sex with becomes a “Whore”, a “stupid bitch” or simply “that chick with boobs man”.

Heck, I don’t hate hook ups but, somewhere the fact that after sex women simply become bragging points and are put into the corner bothers me a lot.

Maybe, that shall change some day too.

You’re Different, and that’s VERY Cool

You know what I did today? I watched 10 episodes of a show, and then played a worthless game on my phone for about an hour.

You know what I did today? I swooned over how hot Heathcliff is, and how I would give everything in the world to know him personally.

The thing is, if I had said those things anywhere else, I would be a bonafide joke. I mean I am a couch potato really. Then, again I did my kickboxing and dance workout in the morning, went for a long walk, bought some groceries, read some papers; normal stuff. Deal is, I was different today. In fact, I am pretty sure, I am a bit different every day.

Some days I moon over boys, some days I cannot let go of the feeling of women, some days I just want to dance dance dance and forget about partners…
And I am different that way.

And you know what? I am totally fine with it.

Some days I am not, and it feels bad.

Thing is, the differences that we have to other people, to the public is what defines us. The stop you made to watch that single music video playing over at the television shop is probably a better definition of you than the entire walk to the way there. It changes from person to person. Some people are stuck with their bad choices and some people struggle after making the good ones. yet, it is the differences that push them through.

Differences are lovable.

Because when everything falls apart those still exist. The moment that you moved the chairs to dance still exist. And those are the moments people will fall in love it. Friends, lovers, spouses… They might not remember the anniversary dates, or your favourite colour. But, they will remember how your hair smelt or how you looked after being flustered to the core.

Differences make us, differences break us too.

Yes, people won’t find your kink adorable, they will make fun of you. Some would bully you.

But, that is what makes it cool. Because when differences with others matches with someone else. When the differences become similarities under the gaze of the ever powerful love, we find partners, we find romance, we find people. Sisters, friends, BFFs…

I am scared of my differences, yeah but, you know what? Without them, am not worth much anyway

Come on, let’s walk

Walking is one of those things that I keep to myself. Whether it be the longer aimless walks, or the shorter walks to reach a destination. I do not know when the passion started really. But, even before I could spell out my name completely in English, I was walking halfway across the city to sit in an ever growing playground with an uncle of mine. After that, it has never really gone away. I have been in love with walking, and walking has reciprocated it with so many little things I have found on the way.

I guess it had something to do with the fact that I grew up in a small patch of a village perched on the roads of an ever growing metropolis. My family has never consisted of a bunch of village dwellers. There was always a love of the land, a love of the common things in them; that I have seldom seen in a city dweller. Growing there, though, I always admired the cycle, I have never been fond of cars or bikes. Bikes scare me, and cars…
Cars are suffocating.
Cars and buses are really suffocating to me. Unless it is quite empty and free, I get all stuffed up and afraid of everything near and far. The anxiety makes me feel strange.
I guess, that is another point in favor of walking.

However, this is not even the reason I walk. When the road doesn’t want to end, when you meet a new place suddenly, and your legs cannot carry you further, there is something that breaks within yourself. Walking in a way is a way to my own enlightenment. It is the only moment I am content with myself, the only time I am truly confident about everything I have done.
Plus, the city I live in looks beautiful when I walk through the roads…

So, lets walk, shall we?