As I See It

Month: October, 2013

Misdeeds of a drunk, wife-beating pervert

It was late in the morning on a quiet Saturday at the house. The doorbell rang. It was Jaya, our housemaid.

Jaya has worked at our place for many months. Despite having had no common language, we have always managed to communicate in some way and get along well. To my slight (and very snobbish) annoyance, she wakes me up out of my two-layered blanket, early every morning, to narrate to me happenings of her life. But we don’t complain because we have been happy to have a nice lady that doesn’t mean to profit from our carelessness.

Jaya has been stuck in an unhappy marriage; it ‘s more of a non-existent marriage that still manages to bring her agony. And the reason is simple – her husband is a drunk, wife-beating pervert that sleeps around and does no one any good. In spite of the marriage scenario she is in, she always manages to maintain a joyful air around herself.

However this day, this evidently wasn’t the case. Jaya was teary eyed, conspicuously teary-eyed. She was desperately trying to hide it with her made-up giggles and chuckles. But the eyes never lie. They held to the brim, the pain that was told off all those days, accumulated. It was emotion that had been pushed and pushed deep down into a hole that could no more contain it. It was emotion that had lashed out breaking the attempts to slash it. It was emotion that had finally come out in an overpowering, uncontrollable manner. She held her belly tight and squatted on the floor outside the door. Petrified and unsure how to help, I offered her a chair. She chose to lie flat on the floor of our empty hall instead. She introduced to me, her mother who had accompanied her. It took me a while to get that she had brought her mother to complete her work that day. Jaya’s mother was quite old and the idea of her doing our work made me very uncomfortable. I convinced them against the idea and promised to give Jaya money without anyone having to work.

Jaya lay flat on the floor and I sat next to her feeling helpless. When I couldn’t come up with the Telugu equivalent of ‘What happened’, I resorted to Tamil combined with gestures. She explained to me her story. She was having an abortion because she did not have the money or guts to raise a kid alone; her husband, in her words, is not worthy of being considered as a capable partner or a potential father. And when the brazen uncultured man who works far-away in Chennai paid another visit, he kicked the lady in the stomach. I had already heard a lot about stories of the man and his many women, about how he’d always beat up Jaya simply because she was too tiny (relative to his fleshy women, the ones he found attractive) and because he was suspicious of Jaya’s relationship with her brother. She explained to me that kick that landed on her stomach at some point through the period of abortion caused some medical complications. I could see that it had added to the pain, physically and emotionally. She was so weak, she couldn’t stand.

Yet she managed to laugh. And that just broke my heart.

I asked why she’s still married to him; why not get a divorce. She talked about the monetary prerequisites for a divorce. A divorce could take her from a court to another, to lawyers, again and again and it would ravenously demand money, time and strength, none of which she had enough to spare. That, to me, was the saddest part. If you ‘re so poor that you don’t have enough to get you rid of such a murderous relationship and a repugnant man, if the easiest way is stick on and tolerate the difficulties, that is as bad as It can get. She had a bit of paper tucked away in her little purse, which had on it the date of the day on which the man had kicked her. She had kept it safe in case she got a chance to file a complaint. Of course there’s a caveat. The possibility depends on her ability to finance it and stand bravely through the troubles it will bring with it.

I gave her a carton of juice, the only thing she said she could take in. I asked her not to come back to work till she was alright and I promised to send her money the next day, as I closed the door.


Philosopher’s romance

Emma: That man is a prickle that pokes till you want to break it. He’s like a mosquito that pushes you till you swat it to death.

Aon:  What if he doesn’t actually exist?

Emma: What?

Aon: What if this is all non-existent and you just don’t know it yet?

Emma: Seriously, What?

Aon: What if you’re imagining him and his antics. What if I didn’t exist? What if this conversation isn’t happening? What if you just think it is?

Emma: Am I living in a world of annoying mosquitoes?

Aon: I’m serious…

Emma: About your baseless concept of unrealism? My eyes can see you Aon. Doesn’t that prove enough?

Aon: What if that’s an incredible delusory film your mind’s playing for you? What if only the self exists and nothing else does.

Emma: What IS your DAMN point?

Aon:  Disillusionment could happen. It could all end abruptly; leaving no residue, like nothing never happened in the first place.

Emma: The POINT Aon?

Aon: If it happened now, your last hour would have been one that saw day-dreams of you swatting a pesky man. Or two. Not so grand, in my opinion.

Emma: And yours would be listening to mosquito swatting dreams. You actually expect me to live life basing it on this crap?

Aon: It could be real.

Emma: Alright. Then you expect me to live life basing it on that teeny tiny possibility, despite abundant evidence I see all-around to reiterate to me that this IS crap?

Aon: It isn’t as tiny as it seems. You’d want to thank me someday. But by then I’d cease to exist. I’d have disappeared with the reverie. Your pesky colleague would have, everyone, everything; leaving you angry at having hallucinated all along. That would be tragic.

Emma: Nobody can ever validate your theory

Aon: In the unpredictability and the risk, lies the thrill.  *smiles stupidly*

Emma: *sigh*

Aon:  Let me take you out on a date. That’s a grander end to your world don’t you think, if my prediction were to materialize that is? *winks*

Emma: Really, WHAT? Did you just ask me out?

Aon: Asking to take you on a date is synonymous to asking you out, yes.

Emma: This has got to be the weirdest way I’ve been asked out, ever. And the creepiest.

Aon: I take that as a yes.

Emma: And what if your distorted creepy idea was true? Which would effectively mean the date isn’t real.

Aon: Then this would be the best of all my dreams and hallucinations.

Emma cannot stifle her smile

Solipsism is is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist. It holds that knowledge of anything outside one’s own mind is unsure. The external world and other minds cannot be known, and might not exist outside the mind. Read More


Amrita Love : A glimpse into the best of times

When a couple of phone calls took me down the memory lane I knew what today was going to be. Happy. It was happiness the intensity of which only the shrillness of my voice can express. Not mere words on this post. But I’m going to try.

The start to my day was wonderful. It was a conversation that couldn’t have got dreamier or more meaningful or more fun. It took me back to a long ago weekend when the hugest challenge ahead was to grab a pizza, manage a quick moment on the beach-side, return a rented vehicle and catch a bus all in half an hour, as a consequence of sleep thatcool outlasted its time. It took me back to times when nothing was more delighting than a successful wave-dive to catch a smiley-ball and maniacal water-splashing targeted at one person. It took me back to the times when we the roads resounded to ‘ALICE ALICE WHO THE FUCK IS ALICE’ and when the car reverberated to ‘Give me everything tonight’ and to the special ones when we danced quietly to ‘Angel’ and ‘Time of my life’. Reminiscing about all of this, I was happy these things chose to happen to me. I decided to plan a couple of them for the year ahead.

Work, in spite of its abundance, has been interesting the last couple of weeks. But a day of work that begins with a familiar but persisting error and some unreasonable erratic behavior exhibited by your code is far from pleasurable. Alternate words of pleading and swearing flow out often in conversations with the wretched monitor. But when an interrupting phone call from one of your girls makes you relive a gist of your four favorite years in just fifteen minutes and recreate all the fun, it just beats the shit out of the frustration and leaves you giggling with your monitor for no apparent reason. The conversation, its substance, the narratives, the tone, the laughter and all the fun – it was all exactly like it used to be almost every single day of those years. And that I was sipping my routine cup of tea through and after the conversation felt like a continuation of our everyday night-canteen-tea times in Amrita’ girls hostel’ best corner – the night canteen’s balcony. Even the error didn’t attempt to sully my mood after that.The excitement post a couple of messages of good news I received from certain friends, ate up the evening. I decided this was the happiest day ever. And to add it to it, it was Friday evening. I was leaving office and all the work to hurry into the weekend that awaited, still feeling chirpy. Just when I thought day couldn’t have gotten better, my phone beeped, its Whatsapp tone. It was another of my girls. She had sent me at least ten pictures from college, ones that I had never seen before. Each of them reminded me of the some of the best of times and brought along a familiar feeling of carefreeness, love and jubilation that was characteristic of those days.

Today was a happy day. I wish I could give you a hug and squeal to you through my screen to show you how genuinely happy I am.



Remembering Golu and Sundal

When boredom takes me to Facebook and a quick skim brings to the screen a series of Golu and Navarathri pictures, my own series of pictures floods my mind. It makes me reminiscent of all those long ago Navarathris at home. In that safe corner in my head, I have vivid memories kept of those days.

Navarathri was to me, mostly about the Golu.

I would await the week excitedly. I would begin my prep a couple of days ahead of the festival. My part was the ‘park’. I even then, loved feeling self-important. I would, in pride, go about my task. Mom would get me a handful of seeds from somewhere. I’d get dig out some mud and clay from the garden, fill an aluminium tray with it and sow the seeds. The tray was mostly kept upstairs in a corner of the Hammock room – my favorite one. I’d check for some green sprouting out, every hour. I’d water it every time it looked dry. Just the sight of tiny green grass like things would delight me. In two days, the tray would look like a farm; little green shoots causing it to look like a miniature of the neat square shaped farms you see outside trains’ windows. My little park would go at the bottom of the odd number of steps in the Golu. I’d put men and cars in and around it. I’d help mom unwrap the bommais (doll) in the huge trunk and decide which one be placed where. We had one set of idols of the Tridevi – Lakshmi (the Goddess of Wealth), Saraswathi (the Goddess of

Random picture from the internet Source:

Random picture from the internet

Knowledge) and Parvathi (the Goddess of Power) that would always go in the centre. Other idols would be placed around and on the other steps. We even had a set with a group of Ganeshs playing Tennis (or cricket, I don’t remember). I’d come back once the Golu’s all done, like I was a supervisor, to take a second look and to make sure they were all placed equidistant from each other. When it did look perfect, I’d run around in glee. The elation I derived from this was one of having built something wonderful. It’s not just inexplicable, but to the now-me, quite incomprehensible.

I’d accompany mom to houses of friends and relatives as customary of Navarathri. I would even sing the one Carnatic song I knew well, when asked to (after making a fuss I admit). I’d sing it loudly and tunelessly. Yet proudly and shamelessly. I’d eat the Sundal (which is what I miss the most this year) and leave with a gift I’d always get. The ninth day, my favorite one – Saraswathi Pooja, I’d place one book for every subject in school, in the Pooja room. The next day, on Vijayadasami, I’d read a random sentence from each of them (to make sure I don’t give Saraswathi a reason to cause me to screw any subject up) and then run away to do something else.

It’s been at least 10 years since the last time I was excited about this festival. The excitement for Golu slowly evaporated, quite like that of Diwali’s crackers. This year, the bommais probably stay in the trunk. I don’t know, I haven’t asked mom or dad. I just woke up this morning more than 700kms away from home, hungry and wishing I had a cup of Sundal and I decided to write this.

This year, my 6th one away from home, I miss Navarathri and the Sundal, for the first time in all these years.

Will you make me some sundal? Source:

Will you make me some sundal?

National Coming Out Day 2013

Article published on YouthKiAwaaz

366 days ago, I wrote a post to celebrate the National Coming out Day (the 11th of October). Then, it was a post written post-realization of the existence of such a day, largely to contribute to the growing movement demanding for equality for and acceptance of homosexuals, in some way. It’s been a year since. This time, the day passed with no hoohah about it. I spent the evening at a Disco Dandiya party oblivious to the stories of impassioned struggle and repressed people that stayed hidden behind the hours and minutes of the historic date. The internet wasn’t plastered with pictures or messages, there weren’t marches on the beach, nothing to remind me of the day.

The tranquil that the 11th saw could be because the fire to fight has relented or because acceptance and consequently assimilation has become common and hence a single day to exhibit vehemence is not so necessary anymore. I write today hoping that it’s the latter but knowing it isn’t. I believe we’ve come a long way. The world has definitely become kinder and more accepting. But this isn’t it.

Aren't they damn cute? Source:

Aren’t they damn cute?

The biggest milestone in the recent past has been the unbelievable change in the erstwhile rigid stance held by the Catholic Church. With the coming of the new Pope – Pope Francis – in March this year, the church seems to have loosened its grip on sexuality. While the Pope believes the homosexual acts are sinful, he also believes in acceptance of homosexual people. That, of course, isn’t complete acceptance, but tolerance is certainly a huge step. Pope Francis is known to have said “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge them?” The Catholic community at large, following the head of the Papacy, has modified the way it sees sexuality. As of today, a handful of countries and 18 states in the US have legalized same-sex marriage.

In India, not much has changed since the massive ruling in 2009 when consensual homosexual acts were declared legal in consistency with the right to freedom of expression of the Constitution. After the uproar that the Delhi court’s ruling created then abated, life has been the same for the Indian LGBT community. This year, on the 4th anniversary of the day of the ruling, 4000 balloons were let free by the LGBT community, in memory of the significant day. Despite the legalization which is only one aspect of the battle, the easier one (which in itself has a long road ahead), life for the gay and the lesbian Indians has been as difficult as it used to be. Social acceptance is the missing aspect and the more important one. English TV shows these days show (or include episodes that show) gay couples while not making a huge deal about the they being gay. Someone is gay, it ends there, nothing more. Bollywood has begun to embrace homosexuality too. This in some inconspicuous way is gradually causing minds to even more gradually move towards acceptance. The impact of English shows however is mostly confined to the urban minority in the multi-classed society of India. Any change in the other classes will involve causative factors and measures that are truly and completely Indian. This looks like distant reality, but possible reality nonetheless.

I hope that the world has learnt and for the sake of humanity continues to learn to empathize, to stop judging and discriminating. I hope a day arrives when being gay is as normal as otherwise. I cannot wait to see a day when love transcends everything else. The day will come, cause God, the good Lord above says so himself.

Shot during Delhi Queer Pride 2010

The life-changing present

Featured by BlodAdda in its weekly picks

Featured by BlodAdda in its weekly picks

Diya shut her eyes tight and curled up under the rug, shying away from the blazing light that came in as mama opened the window shutters. The rug cuddled with her tiny form affectionately, reinducing sleep that mama’s loud hollers were taking away. Its dim insides made a soft and cozy sleeping bag. Mama, amidst her own yelling, tugged the rug off her. Diya rolled over to the other side of the bed and got off it, knowing it was the only way to end mama’s admonishment.

Mama looked at her five year old standing at the edge of the bed in her pink pyjama shorts. Her curls fell on her face covering her forehead, her eyes sparkled every time she blinked and her cheeks glowed. She stood there, furrowing her brows and making an evident pout, her way of showing displeasure at the interruption of sleep. It only made her cuter. Mama chuckled at the sight. This was to be Diya’s first day at her new school.

Mama carried the little girl to the other room, brushed her teeth and got her ready. Diya recited her morning songs as mama dressed her up in the new uniform – an off-white button-down shirt and a pleated, checked skirt. Mama hurriedly fed the girl some breakfast, she didn’t want her to miss the school bus on the first day of school. Diya was one of those rare cases of kids that didn’t make a fuss about a thing. You just had to feed her, that’s it. It did not involve running around or pleading with a crying kid; just the feeding. Only, she’d continue to sing her songs managing a bite or two in between. “A sailor went to sea,sea, sea.. To see <bite, bite, bite> what he could see, see see..”  No one could stop that; she was insistent on completing her list of songs every morning.

Diya stood up, still chewing the last bite of her sandwich, still singing. She looked adorable. Mama pinned the school badge on her shirt and she was good to go. Mama had big dreams for her. She was a smart kid, a very compassionate and understanding one, quite surprising for a five year old. Mama could see her, in her mind, growing into a magnanimous lady someday and enlightening people around, befitting of her name. She would bring her girl up, teaching her the beliefs of the Dalai Lama who she revered so deeply. Mama helped Diya wear her backpack and put out her index finger. Diya held on to it tight. She loved to walk the roads with her mom, she felt like a big girl. They walked on the pavement, girl and mother, finger in hand, singing songs, feeling chirpy and cheerful. The neighbor’s furry brown dog, Ruffles passed by. Diya petted him and giggled as he wagged his tail. They got to the bus-stop with a lot of time to spare.

 “But all that he could see, see ,seeeee, was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, seaaa”

Mama noticed something that another parent was holding; it then dawned on her that she had forgotten Diya’s bus pass at home. There was time, she could sprint home and be back before the bus got to their stop. She asked the little girl to stay there, just there at the same spot. Diya nodded obediently. Mama rushed toward home.

“Helen had a steamboat, the steamboat had  a bellll,

When Helen went to heaven, the steamboat went to hell”

A well-dressed man walked across to little Diya.

“What’s your name little girl? You sing very sweetly”

“Thank you.” she said shyly. “My mama asked me to talk to no one”

“Oh she’s right. Never talk to strangers. I have a little present for you though. I will give it to you and I will be gone. Does that work little girl?”

“Okay” Diya smiled eagerly. She loved presents.

The man handed over a tiny black device. She held it with both hands. He asked her to press the green button when she was going to start singing. The display would do a countdown and when it ended, the red button would glow. Just then, she had to stop, at the exact point of time. And she could start over again. The device, the man said, would let out really soft beeps to add music to her singing. Diya was delighted. The man smiled and walked away as promised.

Diya pressed the green. She couldn’t hear the beeps yet, she held it close to her ear and she could hear them. They were really really soft and perieodical. She sang

“Ask me for a muffin, I’ll give you some old bread

And if you do not like it, Just go and soak your head”

The beeps didn’t sway or amplify to the song she sang, but they were fine. She could make them match. She couldn’t wait for her mother to see this. She could see someone jogging towards the stop, at the end of the road. It must be her mama. She couldn’t stop singing yet, the device said 13. Not 0. There was no red glow. She was thrilled. She sang fast.

“A sailor went to sea, sea, sea

To see what he could see, see, see”

The device said 6. She sang faster.

“But all that he could see, see, seee

Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea”

Now 2. She was exhilarated. She’d stop at the perfect moment.

“A sailor went to sea – aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh mmmmaaammmaaaaaaaaa…..”

There was a lot of red. Larger than the glow she expected. It was hot, burning hot. Singeing pain. And it ended, abruptly.

Mama saw fire. And chaos. There were screams, of which one voice, she knew so well.

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