Thursday, December 29, 2016

Romantic Psychosis


As I am getting older, I am constantly introspecting and accepting the result of my introspection that I am terribly out of touch with reality and extremely ill equipped to deal with the real world. Everything is quotes, and books and movies and romantic notions. I keep trying to protect my self-projections onto the world by peppering them with a healthy dose of cynicism and extreme defensiveness. However, I cannot escape the truth that I believe to be true. Not only do I think I am superbly ill equipped to function as an adult in any sense of the requirements the label comes attached with, but also that my very thought process is completely askew and hypocritical.

I am doing my end of the year routine these days, where I watch old romantic movies I have seen several times (possibly because I am trying to shield myself from the movement of Time by reliving and remembering). I just finished watching You've got Mail, which is one of my favourite movies. Even as I get all glowy and happy  when Hanks finally reveals himself to be Ny152, the cynical defense mechanisms were continuously asking how wrong this interaction would have been, were it to play out in real life.  Talking to a strange 'person' on the internet and allowing yourself to fall in love with that person to an extent that your life hinges on reciprocation. Even if we ignore the real dangers of catfishing and the other dangers of cyber anonymity, how could a grown woman actually fall for the trappings of emotions and all the other romantic crap ? It is completely idiotic and asinine. Yet, I have often watched the movie and in all my wisdom I continue to like it and believe the romance.

When I think back to the one real sort of romantic interaction I have had in my life, I am amused to remember how vehemently I refused to accept that any display of emotion could actually be true or meaningful. I was constantly aware of how nothing lasts and everything changes.  The impetuosity of my teenage years has finally caught up with me now, where it may play out in the comfort of my own mind and film preferences. It is easier and safer of course.

The year is changing yet again, and again I cannot remember exactly what of value I did this year. I completed another degree, but it all seems a farce and if you asked me to tabulate the number of days I sat down and put in hard work, I don't think I could even say that I worked for 60 days in the entire year. I must have though, I did write a dissertation. But it hasn't registered and today I feel I have let more time slip by.

Here's hoping that the corporate mentality of efficiency may plague me this year and I feel next December that I have done more. Here's hoping for the dimming of rose tints. For I don't have Miss MariAnne's tempestuous scale of feeling and neither have I gained the efficiency and practicality of Mr Forsyte. I hope to God that I am able to emulate this next year the 'baniya way of life' as my friend Rohit calls it.

Happy New Year internet. Hope it was more fruitful for you than it was for me.

 

Friday, November 11, 2016

How to: BE COOL

1.) Don't write sentimental 500 word essays as thank you notes to your friends. You are overwhelming them with your feelings and caring this much is really not chill.

2.) Don't tell your most stoical friend that when he leaves your heart breaks into a million pieces. He is a new age yogi - he will disassociate from you because you represent all the trappings of the material world.

3.) Because you have been writing all these letters full of feelings and sentiment, you have effectually become the mom friend and while the world might bear you, you have immediately become the dowdiest of all possible friends. Your refusal to smoke up in public because you feel sleepy and asking for sada pani everywhere because you have a hacking cough make you more momsy than ever.

4.) Try to appear disinterested and disengaged. Your ability to care makes you so uncool so fast that they will soon use parts of your tissue for central heating devices.

5.) Don't be so fat that the only clothes you can buy in your size are suits. Your obesity and kurta wearing girlyness undo the sexy, cool coyness you should be inspiring in men all around you.

6.) When your friend comes over for a sleepover don't randomly cut her conversation to tell her how much you love her. You are such a stalker and that is really not cool.

7.) When you are trying to pretend that you are a homespun intellectual, don't take copious notes in every lecture. People think you care too much and even in JNU that is not cool. Mental memorisation has never been more important.

8.) When you are sharing a cigarette don't try to suck the life out of that cigarette and don't show your poverty by smoking till the absolute butt of the cigarette. While others may not realise it, you know that you live in a world where smoking is no longer cool and poverty definitely isn't.

9.) When your mother asks you whether you want anything from home, don't tell her that you don't have garam masala and chai patti. She will pack those in your luggage and loudly announce in the train compartment where exactly she placed it. Being this much of a grahisti jodu aunty is not cool. Also having so much luggage that your mother has to help you pack is not cool.

10.) When you meet naive, pretty but clueless girls on the train who have no idea what a rapist's paradise Delhi is despite having lived in the city for years, don't escort them to their houses and take care of them. This kind of didi knows best behavior makes you appear so much older and you are ultimately aging your vagina by a century.







Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Why my birthday matters.

Over the last few years, I have felt much of the excitement and fervor with which I used to look forward to my birthdays diminishing. I think it is a combination of the world's cynicism rubbing on me as well as the exhaustion of expectations. I still go through the moves though, mostly for the sake of nostalgia as well as a certain belief that this one day I should earmark for happiness and as much joy as possible.

Sometimes, my birthdays have been very disappointing and it has marred the perfection of my memories. I think it was my 18th birthday where I truly understood the role that others play in making your birthday special. I remember my friend Saumya waiting outside my house and how I didn't want to talk to anyone and meet anyone because this one friend who SHOULD have been there was not there. With the added pressures of my mother and the exuberance of some very very committed friends, I had a spontaneous party at home and everyone whom we called showed up and I felt so loved. I decided that year, that you should always choose to be happy on your birthday and that would ensure that you actually are happy.

As I have aged, I decided that what was more important was that the people who show up have a good time. It had to be simple and low key enough that these people would want to come back again. It became infinitely more important to actually have people who loved you come and see you than all the other me-centric ideas I might have harboured in my teens.

It is a tough world however, to continue to be excited about the prospect of your birthday. You keep getting older, your happiness takes on this pastel-y overtone and it is tough to fight off your own cynicism. Then the routines you invested so much in earlier are interrupted by people moving or getting married or worse you meeting new people and trying to adjust them into this matrix. It is tough to plan a party and the depression that comes with it makes me feel a lot like Mrs Dalloway.

So now the biggest thing I look forward to on my birthdays is to have at least one person around me who I love and who loves me back.  Even if it is not the party extravaganza that my birthdays used to be, even if it is not a 3 day event. Now I am merely thankful that someone who loves me and you know, didn't birth me is around to say happy birthday.

So there ! Birthdays don't matter, I get that. I have bought into your arguments, the rest of you unbelievers. But I continue to be so much more excited than the rest of you, because I earmark this one event in my life where I decide that it is worth to invest in people, worth to go out and worth to be happy because you were born. I expect you to not forget and write to me and wish me, just as I would never forget yours.

I am the best birthday to be excited about. Your participation in one birthday of mine will ensure that I remember your kindness for the next several birthdays of yours. And trust me, I will make you feel warm and loved, even if I have to wade through the sludge of all your cynicism and disbelief.

This birthday I have ensured that I will have people around me who really love. It is getting tiring to do all this arm twisting and emotional maneuvering. But as long as you are there peeps, I have won.

P.S. This is why Isha, I am offended that we did not meet on your birthday. Not because you didn't meet me, but because I did not make more of an effort to see you. I am the last unicorn. I don't want to shave off my horn and join the rest of you in your disbelief and conjectures about it being 'just a fucking birthday'.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

How to keep your Friends when you've become a morose piece of shit

1. Make sure that you socially alienate yourself. It will allow your friends to sort of forget you exist.
2. Once they have forgotten to have any expectations from you, call or preferably text/email them. They will feel a surge of nostalgia so powerful that they will only remember you from when you used to be fun.
3. Rotate between friends and make contact with a patterned irregularity. You have to keep yourself away so that they don't realize what a bundle of joy you are (insert morose lame sarcasm) but don't completely forget about you as well. Your moroseness will force you to resort to ideological control and playing mind games.
4. Make sure you remember approximate birthdays - so that when you text them (giving them options as to when their birthday falls), they are bowled over by how much they mean to you that you remember their birthday without Facebook. This can only apply to friends you talk to on a yearly basis.
5. Hoard your stories. That will give you material to make conversation so that people still talk to you and not completely abandon you.
6. Keep your neediness in check but not so much that your friends forget how pathetically dependent you are on them. Manipulation of their better selves is key.
7. While you have become a no fun monster, your tragic flaw is that you haven't gained the insight of an introvert. You still cannot listen but because you have shut them out of your life, your snivelling tendency to  be able to feel that you 'know them' will ensure your interest - thereby allowing you to be a better listener and subsequently giving your friends an intimation of your maturity and growth. The do-gooder in them will force them to not leave a promising albeit imperfect human project.
8. As you have become morose and alone, you now have the time to hoard up on random bits of news and cultural trivia  - this will allow your friends to still keep you in their life as you are 'not too dumb' and sometimes interesting. Otherwise they will run for the hills because you are such a drag.
9. Develop a certain flare for invoking nostalgic memories from your times spent together so that you can guilt them into staying.
10. If all else fails, talk about how sad you really are - your friends will be afraid of karma to leave you in your days of mental breakdown even though you are acting like you are the reincarnation of Edgar Allen Poe.

Friday, April 22, 2016

My Party Stories

It's been a while since I have gone to a house party. While making yet another excuse for my adorably young and nice French child-friend's house party invitation, I have been remembering some of the weird and some mortifying (but funny) experiences I've had at house parties. I was toying with the idea of writing about men you meet at parties versus men you know in real life but I shall endeavour to be a rebel and not typecast my party stories into all about men - passing the Bechdel test (hopefully) and creating the setting for my one true hero- myself.

1.) One of the most mortifying experiences I have had with men in recent history happened at a party I attended last year. It was mostly people I knew directly or were friends of friends. It was a nice, cloistered JNU group where you would not expect random acts of outright horniness. My friend and I were talking to this shy, cute and slightly tipsy boy who seemed naively innocent. He was horny enough to hit on my very attractive friend and then when turned down , without batting  an eyelid attempt a rebuttal 'hit' on me. We thought he was so cute, this lonely boy with his harmless horniness. It was to my great horror when I was freaking the hell out to a throwback Ricky Martin song (you know when everyone is too drunk to be anything except nostalgic) that I felt this guy slap my butt. While unpleasant, it wasn't the worst. When you cart around an obese ass with skinny friends who get touchy feely after a few drinks, you get used to butt slaps.
The worst was what happened after that. I felt this guy snaking an arm around my waist which I resolutely brushed off of course.
I have always wondered what was going in his mind. Did he just assume that because I am fat I am obviously easy ? Or because I talked to him, I was obviously hoping for him to come and act douchey with me ?
The weirdest part was the morning. We had stayed over to take care of my friend's (whose party it was) girlfriend who had smacked her head on the marble floor in her drunken stupor. This guy was also a part of the crew being dropped off to various places. I didn't exactly hate him but I was shocked to see the ease with which he was offering himself for ribbing as if he had not made weird advances towards a completely unknown woman TWICE without her express consent.
Turns out he was an engineer before JNU. That explained a lot.

2.) My other funny-mortifying party experience also has to do with unwanted advances. This friend walked in with a boy at this party whom we did not know. I don't think I paid attention to his introduction but we all knew she was dating someone and I just assumed he was her boyfriend. This guy was nice and polite and sweet. He was a pilot in New Zealand and I did the thing I do around shy people. I talked to him that is. The fact that he was this girl's boyfriend, my hostess instincts kicked in and I was all 'Don't sit in the corner NZ boy dance with all of us.'
Over the night, there were some strange attempts at making over my look by a beautiful pushy friend. I remember coming out of this room after taking off my coat with my hair tie thrown off the balcony and NZ boy comes up to me and says in a tone you distinctly don't want your friend's boyfriend to use "Hey, you look so different/pretty (i can't remember which) I didn't recognise you."
I was busy dancing with my adorable child-friend who is probably the greatest dancer France has ever produced. This made me feel a little weird and I reverted to my own posse later to mention how weird X's boyfriend was. Then this friend goes on to suggest that hey that is not X's boyfriend.
I was mortified. That very nice, polite and a little taken with me NZ boy followed me for the rest of the party and I studiously avoided him. As he was leaving, I think I got my first and last invitation for a booty call (at least the only one that I have comprehended). He told me he was leaving the next day and he would love to hang out with me more. I was shocked to the very core of my obese, asexual, virgin self.
The rest of the party was spent in a lot of jokes made at my expense. It is safe to say I don't assume relationships between people anymore.

3.) The other weird thing is one of the weirdest, creepiest come ons I have ever heard in my life (if it was even a come-on). Another house party and a host of drunk people. It is important that I mention that I never drink. The very very few times I have gotten drunk (since my first year in Delhi) is in a control setting with my best friends Rohit and Isha. It is a trust issue .
But I dance. I dance at parties and I make others dance. I choreograph complete group sequences.
This class mate of mine (who I had pronounced till that day to be the cutest boy in my class) comes up to me when I have stopped dancing to catch my breath (which you have to do when you are fat.) and says "If I had those breasts, I would never ever sit."
It wasn't even sexual the way he said it. But it wasn't friendly either. It was a weird cocky I am a good looking guy and I am going to come and tell you I have been looking at your breasts for the past half hour and not care about the consequences.
Not like we were friends you know. I have barely had a full conversation with this guy.
While I stared aghast, he literally tipped his plastic cup full of some weird liquor towards me and left.
It was a strange feeling. It wasn't even a compliment I liked receiving from a guy I barely knew but it wasn't completely horrible in that moment as well.
I am still not quite sure how I feel about what he said. I don't like it nor do I like him but mostly I don't like that I liked a cute boy coming up to me and saying that even for an uncomfortable moment.

4.) My favourite memory however is the most juvenile of them all. My favourite after that excellent gay boy whose name I never asked who was the best dance partner I have ever had (Sorry Simon. I love you but Gay guy danced Bollywood!)
This party was happening at the time when I was crushing on the cutest possible guy I have ever seen. What was more important was that this crush had happened after a really really long time.
Unlike me crushing on a guy in school (where I would eventually make contact and create a story) this crush was almost infantile in my expectations from it. While I was crushing on the guy and making jokes about his hotness to my friends (like Arushi and I used to when we were in class 8th for God's sake), for some inexplicable reason, this boy thought I was his really good friend.
While I dance with everyone and anyone, every time this particular boy asked me to dance, it weirdly became a father-infant daughter- standing-on-his-shoes and dancing kind of chaste affair. Not literally ofcourse. Even standing on his shoes would have been too much physical contact for my holy puritan self.
So I am taking one of my many breaks and trying to hog the music, this angel comes up to me. He has had a few drinks, he leans down from his majestic height and comes very close to my face and says "Devika will you do something for me ?" I am apoplectic by now and I have turned completely red and I stammer of course yes - he looks so earnestly at me and says "please let me play one song, I promise you will love it. "
It was mortifying. It was so anti-climactic it needs a new genre. I felt ridiculous and light headed all at the same time.

Unfortunately, crushes don't last. He has asked me to atleast 5 parties in the last 2 months and I have not had the desire to attend a single one. Guess we are friends now.
Oh well. That is all I needed, yet another friend.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Search and Destroy

Dear Friend,

I want to tell you that today I am going to put all my faith in Karma, energy and the many such things that the Beach Boys called 'good vibrations'. I am not a big believer in the same but as this is the only way to say all the things I want to say to you, I am going to say it and hopefully the universe will work its magic and all your troubles which plague you so right now will get sorted.

We have history but unfortunately for the many pleasant memories we have shared there have been some recent ones which prohibit me from calling you up and talking to you directly.  The least of these is the recent phone conversation I had with your mother who has blamed me for all that is 'wrong' with your life right now. We both know that she is not correct in her assumption but I want to tell you that while I was really hurt I am not angry with her. My first memory of you is your first day at school and even then your parents had come over to my house to talk about a maths test where you hadn't done so well in. I want to tell you that I know your parents see me as a very important person in your life and over the years they have called me to be the final arbitrator of your destiny. They accommodated me in their family and today they are angry with me but I want to tell you it is alright. Even that day, I wasn't angry with them but I was angry with you because I felt you threw me under the bus for no good reason. It is alright.

You told me that I have never been a friend to you. You cannot imagine how hurt I was. This time however, I wasn't nearly as hurt or as angry as I had been the last time we spoke in August. I will not lie and say that I necessarily hold you in great esteem today because there have been so many unwarranted fights and arguments between us that I no longer can feel the same. Despite my best efforts however, I am unable to hate you. I don't want to hate you even if you hate me. But I don't want to be  in direct contact with you anymore because you cause me pain.

I have had a blessed life (and I thank God for it ) which is possibly the reason why I am so bothered by how things are between us today. Sometimes I remember silly pranks that I played in school and they keep me up at night. I have definitely not taken the plunge into adulthood and because of that I continue to be so bogged down by the FIGHT that we have had. I have been struggling to write this piece for the last three days but I would get stuck because I don't know whether I can call you a friend anymore. Then I just gritted my teeth and remembered you from all those year before the fights and decided to use the term friend anyway.

I hate ambivalent feelings. You have put me in a position where I don't know what my stand is as far as you are concerned. I cannot hate you because there is all that good stuff (even if you cannot see it) coupled with all the horrible things that have happened. I hate that you have brought me here. I want to love you but I hate myself for loving you or caring about you at all.

Every time something big happens between us, my parents and my friends tell me that I am a loser and your punchbag. I hate that. I hate that I am in this abusive relationship with you. I cannot imagine how to resolve this situation anymore. I never thought that things would come to this. I am angry that you have pushed me so far away that even if my heart desired it, my ego and my better sense would not allow me to reconcile.

I have dreams about you. Earlier after the first big fight I would have dreams that you were sick, or in trouble and there was no one to help you because we weren't talking and you surrounded yourself by people who don't really care enough about you. After the final fight (which is an oxymoron I feel because you keep intruding in my life with complaints and negativity) I would have nightmares where you would just be abusing me and saying horrible things to me all the time. I would wake up and be so upset that I was so bothered by someone who does not care about me at all. I feel like I almost understand why people continue to be in abusive relationships. It is not just a test of will power because your subconscious continues to regurgitate the nasty stuff when you least expect it.

It almost feels a little nice that you call or intrude my life then even to say all the horrible things because it means you are not free of me yet.  This is so unhealthy that I cannot believe that I of all people have just written that.  My personal relationships are so straight forward that I cannot believe that as disturbed, annoyed and irritated I am by your refusal to stay out of my life, I still somewhere feel a little validated that at least your hatred for me has not died yet. You have plagued me beyond the words I can ever hope to put down. I am not a person easily plagued but you my dear dear girl have managed to plague me.

I have thought a lot about our friendship and I have gone over every fight we have had since the sixth standard in detail with Isha and I remember telling her that out of all the fights I have ever picked with people, all my fights with you from as far back as I can remember were always initiated by you. I have thought again and again but I can still not come up with a single reason why I would ever want to fight with you- I might have gotten angry but it is always you who decides to walk away and end things. A lot of my conversations have been about you and our friends always tell me that they never understood why you and I were friends - I was shocked to say the least. I thought we were the best friends possible because we did so many things together that I did not do with anyone else.  Arushi  says that I have a connection with the name Isha. The two of you cannot however be more different. Not to say that you suck and she doesn't, because God knows you don't suck, but that she listens to me and bears me up when for the last three years specifically you have only bogged me down. My mother was very upset and she was ready to go to your house and talk to her heart's content but I jokingly told her, it is okay, I will think of this as payback for the many class notes I photocopied from you. It is alright. I don't hate you even though I should. I will never be able to hate you. That makes me hate myself.

Anyway, now that I have spoken at length about my feelings and my point of view at length (which as everyone knows and you specifically pointed out is my biggest failing) I want to talk to you about you.

I want to tell you that you are a good person who is going through a bad time. Don't think that you are a bad person. While I cannot lie and say that you haven't been horrible to me, I will still say that you are not a bad person. You are an exceptionally smart, talented and kind person. You are an artist. This is the only reason why a sensible person like you routinely seeks out people who deliberately hurt you. It is because you have a talent.  I want to tell you that while it seems unbearable now, it will get better because talent comes with its burden. Sure you could live your life like I do, safety and rules and a huge list of don'ts, BUT you shouldn't because you are bearing the burden of genius. You have to make these mistakes and these devastatingly destructive decisions because that is experience. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself in a bad situation. It is very easy to build walls and convince yourself that you don't need the same things that cause discomfort. We are both unhealthy in different ways. I want to tell you that all the horrible things that are making you question how could you be so stupid will be your source material for the talent that you bear.

You are courageous in your ability to make bad decisions. You are foolishly brave that you alienate your support systems because you know they hold you back. You are not going to be what your parents or what I would like you to be because you are different in your capabilities. I want to tell you I understand.

However, I need you to understand that you have a choice to make. Either do destructive things knowing that this is you gaining experience and you will have to bear a certain amount of unhappiness and opposition because of this choice, or choose to be happy and then seek out people who can support you in your crusade for happiness. You will not find both and accepting either will help you clear the angst which so plagues you today.

You are selfish, no matter what you might tell yourself and you should accept it. You cannot please everyone so you might as well please yourself. It is alright, you will hurt people just as people will hurt you. Everything balances itself out. You read the Iliad, you know what I am talking about. Either go to war and die young or decide that you will live your life without hoping for a place in history.

If you however choose to be happy, which is an excellent choice and just as important if not more important than being GREAT I want to tell you that you have to stop letting your insecurities affect you so negatively. You have to decide for yourself what you deserve and if the world does not offer you the same, you must be at peace because you made a choice. We are so young and I refuse to believe that our version of perfection (which life will batter down into a more practical form anyway) does not exist. Someday, somewhere you will find the right person. I will not advise you to be like me where you cut yourself off and decide that this is something I will just never do because that is stupid and will eventually someday create regret. Give people chances, like you do but evaluate their behavior on some parameters at least. Don't allow yourself to become a pawn in their story because you are better than that. There are people who deserve forgiveness and then there are those that don't. Just like you and me. I love you so much even today but I now know that any sort of relationship between you and me will only cause me pain eventually because those were the rules we set up. Hence I will take my love and nurse it and hope that some day when I see you in the street, it won't feel as bad as it does today. I am sure that day will come. I cannot let you off the hook now even if you ever asked which you probably won't because I am sure I am the aggressor in your story - not to say that I am a victim in mine.

We are all going to hurt people and will get hurt. That is life. But you can decide whether getting hurt in the same manner again is worth it or not. If you decide it is worth it, then own it stop feeling like someone forced this onto you. We are blessed because we have good families, above average intelligence and healthy bodies. We can afford to have aspirations and ideals. Stop the pity party - and I say this not in a dismissive manner but rather it is my way of saying stop letting your brain take away your agency in your life decisions.

I want to tell you that I KNOW that one day you will be famous and creative and excellent in all respects. What causes anguish today will make you better tomorrow. And I want to tell you that while I cannot offer forgiveness (not that you have asked for it, but I am addressing my version of you here hence I can imagine you feel my side of the events) nor can I say I can forget, I offer you my understanding. All my prayers are with you and I hope to God that you find happiness and peace.

You are better than you can even imagine. You deserve so much more than you let yourself aspire to. I am asking you to believe in yourself because you should. I used to do it for you when we were friends, but now I cannot convince you anymore. If you are brave enough to venture out on your own kicking support systems down, I want you to build the inner fortitude which helps you bear the pain that life will bring. I know you have a lot of friends and I probably give myself too much importance (just as aunty and uncle do regarding my role in your life) but I know you have a habit of fighting with the people who most care about you. It is alright, you are a grown ass girl and you don't need others telling you what you should and should not do. For your sake however, apply the same exacting standards to all the people who you care about but who don't give a fuck about you. It will help you immensely. I hope to God you never have to cry again as you were crying on the phone that day. I am haunted by that sound it broke my heart. Please take care of yourself, because even if you don't feel like it right now you are important to so many people and the world deserves to have you in it at your best.

All the best Isha. I hope someone comforts you right now or you comfort yourself and rebuild the faith you should have in yourself. Take very good care of yourself.