Clap Your Hands!

As the first ray of the summer sun hit my face yesterday morning, even my state-of-the-art split AC couldn’t shield the heat. I opened my eyes reluctantly, as though I had a choice not to! I turned to my right and started feeling up my bedside table, until I could grab my phone.

7:45 am it said. How ruthless! Why doesn’t time stop for anyone? I wish I was Hermione and I had my own customized time-turner, but would I want to deal with Voldemort? Speaking of Voldemort it had just struck me that I was running late to work, so I did the most logical thing that one would, I opened the app that turns everyone into professional photographers, intellectuals and social media influencers. Yes, I had opened Instagram!

I scrolled and scrolled until I despised my very existence. Once I initiated my self destruction mode, I was all set crib about the traffic, vine about my workplace and complain about how Earth is not a planet meant for me.

But something disparate had happened, while I was in the backseat of my Uber listening to Chupke Chupke Raat Din by Gulam Ali, I saw a little girl in shabby clothes, sitting on the footpath and laughing heartily.

This was a sight for a split second in the traffic and I didn’t ruminate about it. But today, I opened my eyes with a smile on my face.

Had anything changed from yesterday? Well nothing, if anything, things just got from bad to worse. But, as cliche as it sounds, ‘Your World Is What You Make Of It.’

So cut yourself some slack, take it easy and clap your hands.

You ask why? Because, when you happy and you know, clap your hands 🙂

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You

Don’t let the beating bring you down,

Don’t let the taunts tamper your growth,

Don’t let the drama drown your ambition,

Don’t let fear triumph over you.

Once Upon A Time

Arya: Daddy, I cannot sleep without a story.

Daddy: Not today baby girl, daddy is too tired.

Arya: Daddyyyyy please!

Daddy: You stubborn brat! Okay, let me tell you a story I heard from my Grandma.

Long long ago, there flourished a kingdom where humans were divided as men and women. The seed producers were called men and the seed carriers were called women.

The producers were expected to bring bread home and make all the big decisions.

Arya: But daddy, mumma is the one who goes to office! And, you and mumma share the responsibility of making all the decisions.

Daddy: Yes love, back then there was not much of a choice.

The daddys’ had to go to office. If they chose not to, society questioned them and their potential.

Arya: That’s so unfair for you daddy!

Daddy: I know baby. So listen, the seed carriers were expected to take care of the family and nourish the children.

In that kingdom, pay was different for the carriers and the producers who showcased the same potential.

Arya: Daddy!

Mumma would gurrhhhh in anger if she was a part of that kingdom.

Daddy: Haha, aye Captain!

The producers were emotionally constipated because they were expected not to shed even a single drop of tear. If they cried, they were booed and called a carrier.

Arya: Daddy, you cry all the time! And anyway, what’s wrong in being a carrier?

Daddy: There is nothing wrong about it baby, so that’s how the uprising began.

All the seed producers decided that they don’t want to stay silent and be puppets anymore. They marched forward and questioned the system.

Placards were made, silent protests were protested and the silence of producers was joined by the carriers.

The kingdom went mum and the silence gave birth to a new kingdom with a new hope.

Arya: Daddy, I would be so sad for you if you were born in that kingdom. I’m happy you are a producer and not a man.

Being ‘Beta’!

‘You looked pink when you came out of my womb beta,’ said Amma. ‘But ma why do you call me beta, I’m your beti,’ I asked innocently. ‘Well you are strong and smart, just like a beta,’ she smiled and said proudly and patted my back. I was swelling with pride at her remark.

From that day on, my steps had become bigger, my hands swung faster, and voice had become louder.

I had a million ton responsibility on my shoulders, of being a boy that my parents could never have. It followed me like a shadow, the kind of shadow that doesn’t need the sun or light to thrive.

I pushed myself through crowded single screen theatre ticket counters. I went to a medical store in the wee hours of the night. I lifted luggage and dumped it into trains, as if they were as light as cotton. I never cried, because boys don’t cry.

Years had passed and I was still in a race with my own self to be a beta. I hated shopping, didn’t have a clue how mascara was applied. I was bro-zoned by boys and had nothing to talk to with girls. I was friendless. I was aloof.

‘Why are you walking like that? Put your knees together. Lower your voice. You are not a child anymore,’ told the world around me. My body was in metamorphosis and so were people’s opinion of whom I should be.

Today, I still take wide steps, my hands swing when I walk, I cannot sit with my knees closed and I don’t cry. But I’m not a beta and I don’t want to a beta.

Well, there is one thing that changed. I love me some red liptstick, tell me who doesn’t? 😛

She is a paradox!

She is stuck in a labyrinth of suffering, constantly ricocheting between being actively happy and passively depressed. An ocean, which on a pleasant day kisses your face with a stroke of cold breeze and on a violent high tide day wipes the smile off it.

She is a paradox in herself who claims to be able to do everything standing on a single foot, but some days she just wants to hide under the sheets and never come out of her shell. She makes everyone around her chuckle until their ribs hurt, while she blankets all her sorrows under a layer of humor.

She stares into the mirror and proclaims to the world how gorgeous she looks, while hiding her insecurities behind the luscious black kajal and blood red lip color. She loves passionately, yet appears completely detached. She is extremely opinionated, but always contradicts them in every single decision she makes.

She is that book everyone would love to own, but no one could completely comprehend.

Kanchanamala’s epiphany

July 3rd

“Did you have something to eat yet? You get stomach cramps if you don’t eat something soon after you brush your teeth,” enquired amma. “Ya maa, just made eggs and toast for breakfast,” she answered. By the end of the conversation Kanchanamala got teary eyed, but managed to hide it from her mother until the end of the conversation. She quickly rapped up the call, half listening to all the advice her expert mother was providing. To her family, Kanchanamala was a rock. A stubborn brat who doesn’t give up until she achieves what she sets to achieve. She did not want her amma to sense the pain in her voice, especially after going against her family to come to a new city.

She was sitting in the small balcony, attached to the kitchen, which was filled with cobwebs and crow shit. It was slowly starting to hit her, the fact that she was on her own. She was always a tube light of sorts emotionally, she understood that breakfast was not going to magically appear as soon as she got out of her bed, her brothers were not with her anymore to drive her around and her father’s pant pocket, her mini ATM, was not at her disposal anymore.

She was lost in thoughts as she saw grey smoke form in front of her. “Holy mother of god, am I hallucinating now?” she thought. She turned around to find Shakti enjoying her morning chai with sutta. “Problem if I smoke when you are around?” asked Shakti. “That question is supposed to be asked before you light the cigarette,” answered Kanchanamala. They had a straight face for a minute and burst into laughter. “Although I am going to most definitely kill you, if I am diagnosed with lung cancer because of you woman,” she said and laughed.

Kanchanamala was now standing at the entrance of the house and scanned every inch of it to make a list of all the things needed to turn this ‘khabad khana’ into a decent space to live in without contracting any kind of disease. Her eyes panned from one end of the house to the other, when Shakti entered the frame, she said, “We are going shopping tomorrow.” “Shopping? Great. Do you want to go Hyderabad Central or GVK One? We have choose strategically based on your budget,” answered Shakti. “We are going to buy groceries not clothes,” announced Kanchanamala. Listening to this, Shakti was in shock. Just like how Tulsi Virani had a shock when she saw her dead husband, Mihir, come back to life. Kanchanamala stood there with her legs slightly apart and hands placed on her hip ready to take on this mammoth task.

Kanchanamala in a new city

July 2nd (Early morning)

She despised crowds, she hated when strangers came in physical contact with her, but there she was standing in an unknown bus station in a new city. She was trying to pull out her cell phone from her hand bag with one hand, while holding on to as much as luggage possible with the other hand. ‘Hey where are you? I have been waiting here since forever,’ she said. She was obviously lying about the forever part. After what actually seemed to be forever, her friend had finally arrived. Shakti was her pen friend which evolved into Facebook, Twitter and Instagram friendship with technology. Kanchanamala was friends with her since school days, but this was the first time she was meeting her in person. Shakti was everything she aspired to be one day, smart, successful and fearless.

They caught sight of each other from a distance and Shakti approached Kanchanamala with open arms and gave her a tight hug. ‘Welcome to the pollution and traffic of a metropolitan city babes,’ she said. They hired an auto rickshaw after Shakti argued with the auto driver for close to 20 minutes. Kanchanamala was in awe, she was staring out of the auto rickshaw and was admiring the huge buildings and billboards with beautiful women. She finally asked Shakti, ‘Don’t you have cab services here? I mean if you weren’t happy with fare the auto driver was quoting, why didn’t you book a taxi?’ ‘Heritage baby girl, we should save our heritage. Have you ever watched Hollywood movies or for that matter any foreign language movie?’ asked Shakti. ‘Yes I did,’ answered Kanchanamala. ‘So, did you see any auto rickshaws in any of them? No right? Cabs are killing auto rickshaws and we should save them. If that means arguing for 10 extra minutes, it fucking doesn’t matter,’ explained Shakti. When Kanchanamala tried to say something in her defense, ‘But,’ Shakti interrupted, ‘Save the heritage. Dot.’

They finally reached Shakti’s apartment, unloaded all the luggage and took turns in moving the luggage up three flights of stairs. Kanchanamala was going to be Shakti’s roomie and she was super excited to live with another girl as she always missed having a sister and was looking forward to having such an ‘uber-cool’ roommate. Shakti unlocked the door, opened it and welcomed Kanchanamala, ‘Welcome to Shakti Bhavan,’ she said. Kanchanamala thought it was quite narcissistic to say that, but ignored it as she was excited to step inside her new home. She entered to find a 1BHK, or rather a 1BK which looked like it was last cleaned before Dr. Manmohan Singh introduced LPG. She stood there in utter shock and thought, ‘Time to become Konkarna Sen from Wake Up Sid!’