a terrible painter, a dreamer, a rebel , a feminist and a self certified bisexual Witch. Who is always trying to visualize whats on the other side of the canvas she paints,just another human- Living alive Life. Now also a green tea addict.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

#Inktober: a Lesson in Lovemaking and Commitment!

Life is full of dichotomies, I love chick-lits but I can’t tolerate people when they are all mushy in love, I love motivating people with positivity but when people ask me if I need them to listen to my problems, I push them away. I can play counselor to my sad friends, but I won’t offer my shoulder to cry, never. With these or similar dichotomies, we all live and churn out our time to engage on social media exhibition of the life, where we support and frown upon fellow humans. As I scroll up and down I see certain schoolmate’s beautiful display picture in Italy, luckily for me envy is something I rarely feel, I just feel proud, because I knew that schoolmate had ingrained brilliance and she would shine! Shine she did. This is followed by my idiotic biker friends, who take more picture of the bike then the actual destination of road trip, next pop up my friends who have leaped into the burning pan of marriage or are going to get poached soon in coming months, finally I have those who have leaped into the fire and produced offsprings!

I look at them and wonder what makes older generation question my generation's life choices! Many people from generation elder to us by few decades say we are afraid of commitment. Here are my (in)sane friends committing the biggest stupidity of their lives, getting married! This makes me question my own fidelity towards life. I am single like that long forgotten soggy Marie biscuit crumbling at bottom of Horlicks jar. My chances of stumbling into a Mr./Ms. Maybe is nil as I hardly venture out, I don’t have guts for Tinder and the bookshops I frequent are empty! My dedication is towards books and anime series, and my office has only three people working in it! My crush (It’s practically a vicious obsession imbibed with a pinch of cyberstalking and insanity on my part) is never ever going to love me back, until and unless I hit their head hard and put them in a sack. Nor do I stumble onto a woman who reads comics and watches Star Wars on the bus or in a bookstore or some Marvel Movie Screening! I get angrier when my friends who are in a relationship for centuries now come to me for love advice! Does it look like I have goddamn experience? Stay put!

So, commitment is off the chart! Now I meet a lot of people on buses and in metros, some of them know me and happen to talk to me. Most of them are grandpas and grandmas to some kid, they find me interesting because I have a book in my hand and most of the time they are trying to save my damaged eyesight by talking me out from the page I am reading. This brings back the statement on commitment, a couple weeks back one grandpa was telling me how his granddaughter broke off her engagement with her childhood sweetheart because she was not ready. He blamed our generation for lacking consistency, we don’t have the zeal to stick to a routine. Apparently, we are going to die sad and lonely.

I am not going to die lonely, sad maybe because I have a bandit of a sister who might steal my savings when I turn 80 and she at 87, but lonely, nope at least not us. The grandpa went on emphasizing that we don’t have hobbies or desire to cultivate one (this applies to my sister and she is surprisingly married). Then he asked me if I don’t have a boyfriend? Only if grandpa knew how offended I was by that question, I kept my face normal and said no, nor do I have a girlfriend to which he frowned, I should have mentioned my stalking syndrome and obsession with the crush of three years. He would have further lectured me, but my stoppage came, and it’s been a while I have seen him on my bus rides.

Exactly one month back I decided to test my commitment skills, I love art and on my Instagram, I have befriended this young artist from Telangana who roped me in for the test of patience. He recruited me for Inktober. Unlike No-Shave-November, this needs time, care, and lots of patience, hence it was a commitment.

Inktober is 31 days inking challenge, where we can draw whatever we want if we do it every day. This did sound interesting enough, but my commitment issues or lack of commitment experience were showing up, I refused. But given a deadline, I can do anything. The deadline was 31 days-31 Doodles, like Juile from ‘Julie and Julia’ I jumped in, as my track record has been a decent one with deadlines. I have yet to miss a blog post for any month. I haven’t missed the mini-monotone-book-club I jumped in a year back. The thing I didn’t know was, Inktober had prompts for each day, yet I burrowed in. The first doodle began with my arrogant Persian cat.

Each prompt tests our skills, mind it my skills are no-skills! I just love doodling. The prompt could be a solid structural word like a sword or something abstract like teeming. How do you conceptualize an abstract word like fierce? Nor were the words like run or juicy easy for humbug like me. My anatomical sense is out of tune, my ideas are always grand, but no-skills make it a super flop recreation. Multiple times I wanted to give in. On the day of my friend’s engagement party, I almost missed the deadline. I scampered from my taxi and doodled before the clock struck 12 am, I was a doodly Cinderella. Again, I fell sick and didn’t want to draw anything because my hands were shaky and my nose Usain Bolt. It was not the voice of the grandpa from the bus ride or my own Grandfather who injected patience in me that made me continue, it was the excitement of doing something and seeing it through till the end that made me complete the task at hand.

Inktober behaved like a girlfriend, testing my patience, testing my creativity and definitely testing my lovemaking skills. Just rolling the tongue of the brush was not enough! I had to use brush pens, brush, ink pens, markers, sketch pens, watercolour pencils to please her each day. Someday she blossomed somedays she plainly refused to embrace my efforts back. Each day had to be treated differently with the same level of dedication. And anger was not going to solve the misunderstanding. I learned commitment means to work together in both anger and sickness, in health and poverty, and to never give up, no matter how hard the task of loving is. If you have promised see to it until you fulfill your bargain.    

In a month all my activism and political ideologies got an escape route. From pro-choice to save the girl child, I have done it all. I have shared about my favourite books, manga, green tea, book-scenes, and comics. And finally, I ended it with my favourite Sandman in his mask. How does one feel after a month? I feel surprisingly light and happy. It was cathartic, I will do it again next year. I think I have tested my patience enough, now I think I should concentrate on the handsome men who will not shave for next one month and reward my eyes for the hard work I provided this one month!  

Saturday, 30 September 2017

the Deal, called family.

Every year the goddess with ten hands comes to visit the tribe called Bongalies. A tribe spread all over the world, loves eating sweets, fish, rice, and words. The goddess comes as daughter leaves as the mother brings a lot of emotions and excitement in the B genes. With her comes the headache of shopping and pandal hopping. None of which yours truly enjoys. Not only the goddess visits her family, she brings her children, her pet, and her children’s pet.

My house is quite the human representation of that divine family. Our mother is as ferocious as the goddess, willing to kill and bite and rip for her children, flowers and pets’ sake. She has two daughters one who loves, let’s say anything related to material possession. Another who believes in burying herself in fiction to avoid public interaction. Again, my mom’s elder daughter has a handsome and short-tempered son-in-law who fills the vacancy of goddess’ war faring son. My mother doesn’t have a lion, but a Persian cat will do the deed and the chubby dachshund can replace the modok loving, the elephant-headed son of the goddess. As for husband, both my mother and the goddess have had the luck of having horrible husbands who prefer to stay away from in-laws on merry days, (those vicious humbugs).

So, every annoying year, the shackles of divine and human family are back to haunt individuals around the world. No matter what the personal calamity, the family will drag out that one family outcast and torture them with early baths, dragging for anjali, introducing absolute strangers to them as uncle and aunts from other grandparents, handing over phone calls of random relatives and so on. I bet Kartik ever wants to step out of his game room just to dress in gaudy dhoti and ride a peacock! Or Lakshmi would like to dress less gorgeous than her mother, despite being the richest in the universe! But it’s family, the kids have been going along with their parents’ whims for five hundred years now. I mean for ten days they get this mother, gorgeously dressed, feeding them and herself on the best foods, riding around the world and getting accommodated in the most luxurious pandals of all time. 

Then BAM! Mother takes U-turn, bipolarity sips out, a bloodthirsty cannibal runs wild for next few days, naked, crazy and murderous! All her protective love of ten days and good food, gone!

How torturous can a parent be? In Indian terms, as crazy as, they could burn you, kill you, marry you, beat you, hang you, uproot you. We are not talking murderous torture here, just the regular emotional blackmail, on how they are becoming old and we should care for their feelings, nope can do.

One fine lazy day, that was yesterday, when rain was humping earth into gooey puddles, grasses had turn neon green and the whole world had turned into dynamic HD screen. My merciless mother dragged me for pandal hopping with tons of emotional blackmail and finally mafia-like threats. She paired me with her rickety mother, that’s my grandmother that reed from the Chinese proverb that bends but never breaks, but a rickety reed none the less. And my torturous mother’s selfie addict niece. I am not angry about my companions. I am angry that in general what happens to be a kind creature and my mother as well, turned into a brute human. When she knows I suffer from acute menstruation pain on the second day, she made me doll up, wear my new north star shoes and made me walk through dark alleys of puddles.

In those dark alleys, I had to turn into a bodyguard for that rickety reed in cotton saree. An anxiety-filled reed that walks super slow, only wears sandals from which eight fingers droop out to kiss the road, even on a rainy day! And my grandmother kept glancing back every few seconds so that I don’t get lost! Ever heard of Presidents looking out for their bodyguard? When my uterus is on fire, my new shoes in puddles, my new dress drenched, the only thought that goes in my brain is murder! In my murderous mind, I already kill my grandmother with the steak knife, my mother with the trident, my cousin with phone’s cord and my elder sister, suffocating her with new clothes. That evil seed of consumerism. My grandmother and mother were overzealous and determined to watch pandals on such a grim day were because of her!

As their favourite creature was unable to pray or watch Durga puja in a distant land, nor could she wear the new clothes that every human of the family has been piling up in her cupboard here in India, made her sad guardians want to enjoy even more. Enjoy at cost of my bleeding uterus. Hence my sister topped the hit list. The only thing that stopped me from killing first three is that by constitute I am weak and timid!

And the egg roll, the bait of egg roll, that egg fired in filthy oil with half cooked roti and veggies dipped in vinegar and peanuts. The only solace of goddess’s arrival is the egg rolls.

But another lesson has been learned, people will always pine for the one they can’t have. In case of my grandparents, they will always pine for the puja that their eldest granddaughter couldn’t celebrate! Whereas my mother will always miss the force of energy that practically leaves her bankrupt every festival and not the force that saves her money by staying put inside the house! The family will always crave for the one that’s at distance and oversee the one that’s near. PERIOD!

P.S- that's the deal called family folks.

thanking you for bearing with me

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Workfidence.. .

‘Confidence’ is a word that has been distributed in different proportions and flavours in my family. My mother suffers from positive confidence in future, no matter how bad the day it will be a better tomorrow. My grandmother suffers from confidence in misfortune, no matter what the day tragedy can strike any moment. My grandfather suffers from confidence in extreme realism, today might be a decent day but be prepared for rainy days predicted by weatherman from a week now. My father suffers from the negative confidence of self, only he and absolutely he can provide continuous discouragement to others and then suddenly take a U-turn to show his support. My brother-in-law suffers from confidence in efficiency, none but only he is the chosen one to do a task. Last but not the least, I have an elder sister who suffers from a combination of all the confidences mentioned above with the prefix OVER!

Like Sansa Stark (My Least favourite Character on Game of Thrones). “I am a slow learner, it’s true. But I learn”. This slow learner didn’t crack through her Ph.D. Entrance and her father wants her to become a civil servant, her sister wants her to moss out in academics and the slow learner wanted to work. Which ensued a conflict of interest, in which I realized, my happiness and mental peace should be the top priority.

After begging and lamenting for a year and a half, my elder sister via her husband made me a resume which practically reeked of their disinterest in my job hunt. My father on other hand was lamenting and irritating my mother on how I was wasting my life out as a vagabond. Like the chain reaction, my mom was crying on my metaphorical shoulder on why I should take whatever decent job came my way.

I have the deficiency of Confidence, that one pot of confidence that fate supplies to each family, was relatively empty at the time I did away with my infancy and gained some sense. Like Baloo, my elder sibling had wiped the pot clean and I was destined to be little Piglet who would follow that trouser-less bear.

After a lot of lazy job hunting on naukri.com, indeed.com, LinkedIn, newspapers and shouting out my frustrations on my friend’s ears I stumbled upon the right job thanks to my university senior. Few email exchange and one job meeting later I was sure this was the place I would love to work and when I grow old I will recite that my first job was not some desperate choice but something I will always be proud of. Once I got assured I had the job of editorial assistant and copywriter, I broke the news to each member at a time, my family did not waste a minute to shower their lack of confidence in me.

It began with my grandmother remembering that tiny creature who hated talking to people, my father showed an indecent amount of interest and then the major league questions were shot at me from my one and only sister. “If I was brave enough to work!”, “If I was stable enough to work”, “Would I wake up on time” “Will I give her seventy percent of my meager four-digit salary! And a constant reminder that no matter what, me having a job was the joke of the century with “HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE” in type, on call and video calls!

Here I am three weeks later, surviving just fine.  

Though the first day of job did remind me of one of the most hated days of my life, my first day at school, I was forced, dragged, thrown into the bus! by my mother. I was crying, I hated the blue skirt and I hated nuns in their wimples! Naked faces peeking out from the wimple was scary enough for me to wet my nappies. Overall, I hated school, I hated it till the seventh standard or may be till tenth grade, I hated school none the less.

Like on the first day of school, I was on a bus, going to a place that was old and intimidating. Unlike my first day of school, my mother was not here, nor was my sister mocking me when I stepped down at the auto stand, physically she wasn’t, mentally she is sixty percent of my psyche chewing away my confidence. I waited for auto, I waited fifteen minutes under the hateful sun, when finally, my auto rickshaw came I was huffing and puffing with beads of sweat sliding down my undergarments.

Prior to my first day at work, my sister warned me not to be late, "Reach on time, if possible fifteen minutes earlier". Like the typical imbecile cow that I am, who has hardly ever disobeyed her sister, I did the same. Here I was sweating and panting and cursing myself that I won’t reach fifteen minutes early. After stepping out of the auto, I walked fast and I wanted to be on time!

Unlike the first day of school where a strict nun was dragging us crybabies inside while I yelled and kicked and the empty hall echoed my own sobs. Here I was standing in the dark on the staircase, no one dragging me, no tears escaping, all me and my silent pants of exhaustion and just a brass lock on the door of my new office staring back at me.

And on time I reached, but the door to my office was happily locked and opened exactly after another fifteen minutes 

P.S- So much of hard labour was spent to earn my first lesson on of being over-punctual, anything over is bad especially when the advice comes from my elder sibling

thanking you to bear with me

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Sisak, in the queer city.

“The Word Within a Word, Unable to speak a Word” is the evocation that flared on the screen as the much-anticipated film opened, Sisak one of the most talked and scrutinized LGBTQIA film of this year in India finally made its debut in City of Joy. Like any festival or event, Calcutta absorbs its differences without a wink and celebrates them without any reservation. Sisak- which means silent sobbing, did make many sob around the world for last couple of months.

The trailer of Sisak was all it took for people to get intrigued, a silent short film on the love between two humans, who happen to be men. After reading multiple articles and interview about the film and director, curious I was. A handful of tweets were negative about the conceptualization; few LGBT institutions were cross about the casting and rainbow sheeps’ complained that the characterization was catering to the non-queer and diminishing the voices of effeminate men and non-masculine queer males. One can’t make them all happy, though it's funny that internalized hetero-normativity is one of the biggest challenges within Queer Community and Stereotypicalisation of Queer is the biggest challenge outside.

Any Rainbow event around the world means an amalgamation of colourful humans, ideas, and smiles of comradeship, no matter what the political scenario is. And Amra Odbhuth Café did not disappoint me, like its name it is Odbhuth, special in a nice way, a rickety building painted right, well decorated with pinches of wall doodles scattered here and there, queer art displayed, fairy lights, posters of game changing LGBTQIA films from around the globe, mats, cushions and a cat. A perfect setting for the one who has nowhere to be, an ideal recluse for the queer.

We all settled down, all comfortable and cozy my friend and me, with our director Faraz Ansari and others, and began our twenty-minute long film. How do you perceive a film that’s quarter of a feature film, and has no dialogue but has used music and other sounds to fill the vacancy?

As I watched, I concentrated on the metaphors, and the metaphors were spot on because Twenty Minutes later Faraz Ansari was explaining his use of props. We can call Sisak a sequential film without dialogues. It is definitely, not a silent film, the music served the purpose of presenting the inner yelling and screaming of the protagonists. The camera primarily jump-cuts between the hesitant legs in churidar, the nervous hand with the silver ring, the leather sling bags. Eventually, we see a young man standing near the entrance of the local train. Soon he becomes more nervous when the object of desire with a handsome beard, rushes in and seats inside.

From there on Sisak becomes a narrative of emotional progression with minimal physical involvement. A quick smile of relief, a deliberate movement, peeping while pretend-reading, nervous stares, pants and gasping. These are signs of love, but both are unable to approach because they are restrained. One by his marriage, as his gold ring with diamond was under camera’s focus multiple time. And another was fear. In twenty minutes, we find the repetition of same actions, the nervous guy in kurta awaiting the married man in the train compartment. Their only solace is looking at each other, the closest these two men come together are near the exit of the train, where they are still unable to hold hands but try to envision each other with closed eyes.

Sisak is refreshing, though the story of these men ends in tragedy. Not the Tragedy of death, but the tragedy born of fear. Had the men got dialogues and taste of physical temptation like in Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh from Bombay Talkies, this story would have failed. Sisak does indeed do a silent cry on the platonic love of the Knight and the Lady, and the artist and the muse.

Ansari’s answer to my question on, how he managed to shoot on the local trains of Mumbai which seemed surprisingly empty- he played with the frames and wanted us to see that as the men grow closer, the outside world fades away hence it seemed the compartment was empty. Ironically in the climax, the characters are indeed alone but incapable of breaking away from their fears and are never securely isolated. Faraz has played with the colour synchronization, with dressing up the married man in extremely formal attire in the beginning and makes him drop one garment at a time to making him pant in an unbuttoned shirt in the finale. Has also attempted to put layers by adding a wedding ring, The Curious History of Love does prepare us for the climax, while our married man reads: South of the Border, West of the Sun, which ironically has an infidel husband for the protagonist.

Ansari informed us Dhruv Singhal was apricated in India while Jitin Gulati was appreciated outside motherland. My friend and I we didn’t find Dhruv impressive enough, his expressions ran between scared to paranoid, his body language was off beat especially when he is waiting for Gulati the married man to board the train. The constant shaking of his legs and digging nails into his arms looked forced and didn't appear to burn for love. Whereas Gulati did a wonderful work with his body language, his expressions were controlled and never let loose until the climax, his expressions flowered with the story. His inability to pull away his wedding ring was wonderfully shot. The background score needed better editing work, and in a silent movie silence just had a cameo.

Faraz also answered our queries and informed us of an incident that happened in Delhi airport, he found his film and his photograph were featured in a leading daily while awaiting his flight. After he informed his mother some random guy splattered a glass of water on him for making this film. His interaction in Christ college Bangalore opened with a student asking “What is LGBTQ?”

P.S- Sisak doesn’t enter the complexities of love and life of queer people and how it affects their loved ones and vice-versa. Sisak leaves the viewers at the beginning, where even hoping for love is criminal.

thanking you for bearing with me

Friday, 30 June 2017

No Sayonara here

Among the ancient building and under the strict love of air conditioner, I made friends, philosophers, and guide.

Three years back I had a premonition that one day I will have my adda. My place of being, and unbecoming, my group of happy floops and stern protectors. But my adda never came into being. I unbecame and got adopted by a curly haired who had an equally scattered brain and tangled moods and a guy who had a beard that grew thicker with his deep reasoning. Three can never make an adda, and hence my adda remained unformed. Guides I have had many, I have my personal philosopher who is irreplaceable, my friends are the fabrics of my existence but a college adda of the rotten crowd I never had.

Yet in a year I met different individuals who are older and younger, some way over-qualified, some way too immature. Few of them assured with life at twenty-two others regretting the marriage they entered twenty-five years back. In a happy flow, a year got over, in a happy year, my experience was beyond academic. I have learned the taste of whiskey, I have learned the art of sacrifice, I have learned the fun of sharing and listening.

It has been an eventful year, and no matter what turn my life takes from here, I won't ever complain taking an academic break while pursuing an academic course.

Now that the year has ended, promises of meeting and keeping in touch are flying out. Promises made in an emotional moment are hard to keep. You can't maintain all relationships, some will stay in the back of your mind, some will accompany you till the end. Despite being easily influenced and brainwashed, I know the futility of promises. I have never promised something based on emotions. Bonds don't wash away, memories don't fade away.

The vlogging girl standing near the green door of 40A will always be etched in my mind, the happy girl in black niqab will be safe in my heart, the smiling girl with the sleepy head will be an inspiration to me always. The lovesick girl or the girl with glossy pink lipstick, they will be part of a long chapter.

The man with a formal t-shirt and mickey mouse pencil box was my neighbour, the anti-marriage squad that I was part of will be here. The over-curious and fatherly classmates, I will miss them. 

I have fallen in love with of each of the human I have acquainted with. Now that everyone is saying and spelling out their farewell and I refuse to utter goodbye. In no language shall I say goodbye. Goodbyes are for ending. But I am still a book in making, and each of the humans I have loved was contributing character in a thick chapter. Chapters finish but their impacts last till the climax. The chapter may have ended but the climax is far far away. Hence I refuse to say goodbye.

P.S- there will be no Sayonara here. 

thanking you to bear with me