Try to Remember

Sometimes, I don’t feel like I am good enough.

More times than not.

Sometimes, I feel that what I am personally best at, is not even average in the Big Bad World.

But I carry on. Because life goes on. Life will pass me by, mercilessly. So I mask my insecurities and doubts and cover them up with a smile – because that is all I can control. sometimes, I get exhausted. So I stop, take deep breaths and cry.  Let it out of my system. And I won’t say that I just dust myself off after a setback and carry on like nothing has happened – after all, feeling inadequate hurts. A lot. But I try to remember what the greatest teacher in the world told me. He has been my guru of sorts (though I am pretty sure he doesn’t know that), since I was in sophomore year of college. He once said, “Fear keeps you small.” Now, maybe this quote is plagiarized. I do not know. But, he said it with such conviction and sincerity, that I attribute this quote to him.

And he said this exactly three days after I had had the biggest setback to my sense of self esteem. I had messed up my monologue performance. Which pretty much felt like the end of the world to me.

And then he said this. And he said it not to me, but to a class of 38 students. But it didn’t matter. He went up to the board and wrote it down there. And I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with something. I am still not quite sure what, exactly. And I felt tears spring up in my eyes. I wasn’t exactly crying – I just felt choked up – perhaps in a good way.

I still doubt myself. I give up – I am not perfect. Life doesn’t work that way. But I try. Try hard to remember.

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I have probably never mentioned this before, but I love theatre. Script writing and directing feels better than anything else in the universe. Incidentally, a few days back, I got to perform a monologue for my Theatre Studies class. I will admit – I am not really a very good actor. But writing – ah, that I did. For myself and many of my classmates. Here’s a is glance at shameless self promotion. My monologue –

(Sitting at the center of the stage)

Don’t worry, my baby, it will be all right in a matter of a few moments. Never again will you have to wither in agony. Just a little while now. (Bursts into hyterical tears, stops the rocking motion. Cries loudly.)

I am so sorry I took your life away, my child! (Standing up) I know that everyone will look at me and equate me with a monster, but what could I do? You were so sick, so weak. It shredded my heart to pieces to see you undergo a lifetime of pain every time you moved.

Everytime you called for me, your voice seemed to become softer, more fragile. Everytime you cried when you had to get up to eat, you became weaker. Everytime I had to help you bathe, you seemed more ashamed, more helpless. Your strength wavered everytime you raised your eyes to look at me.

But doctors (laughing hysterically), they congratulated me. Told me you would be able to continue existing. Whether you were able to truly live or not, did not matter to them. They took immense pride in telling me that even in this condition, you will not die. As if not dying is all there isto living. these doctors apologised too. with lowered eyes, they told me your treatment is too expensive, I cannot afford it. And that was it. Your destiny was sealed. I could not pay for your treatment. Still, I didn’t give up. I begged for help. But everybody I went to, turned their backs on me. People who had meant the world to me, who I would have done anything for, tore my hope apart. Left us to rot in our misery. So, I did the only thing I could. I sent you to a better, less cruel place.

What do I do now? I cannot let my child’s murder go in vain. Everyone needs to know. They need to realize what monstrosity I had to commit to relieve my baby of pain. They need to know that though mine were the hands that took his life, they are all his murderers. I have to …I have to…(In a frantic manner, she dials a number on her phone. Speaks extremely calmly.) Hello? Police station? Yes, this is Aisha. I live in B 303, Brigade Gardenia. There has been a gruesome murder here. Could you send some people? Thank you.

Now they will know. Know what my helplessness drove me to do. Trust me child, I did everything in my power to fix you, to make it better. But I lost. Over and over again. And I couldn’t bear to see you like this anymore. But don’t fear, don’t worry. Your mother is joining you in death.

(Picks up her knife and slits her wrists)

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India: A Proud Imagined Community

‘Nation is an imagined community.’ A quote by Benedict Anderson. Genius man. I loved his concept. He believed that nation is a constructed community used to bring homogeneity amongst its uncontested heterogeneous populace. Its a rock solid argument. He even said that the printing press plays a huge role in keeping up the shenanigans of “national identity”.

I have read his argument, and condensed, paraphrased versions of his argument, countless times. Not just because I was fascinated. I mean, of course, there was that too. But mostly, I read his argument to USE his argument, to win arguments in general. So when I climb up that politico-philosophical horse, no one can win against me.

But lately, I have realized something. It bothers me when my country talks of division. I recently read an article in NYTimes about North and South India, and the author went on and on about how India survives as a nation habitually, by being a nation.

Logically, it makes sense. I am not blind to the discrepancies that exist between the North and the South. However, I want to point out that if being a nation is what has kept India as one nation, then therein lies our commonality. Surely, all of India believes that all of it is one nation, which is why it continues to exist being one. Isn’t that much of similarity enough?

Personally, I realize now, that a sense of community is extremely important to me. But, I am not some idealistic buffoon who does not know that South India has issues, concerns and problems that are extremely different from the problems of the North. If one uses this argument of difference, I can also point out that my issues, concerns and problems are very different from that of my mother’s. I know that logically, its a stupid argument to make. But I can’t help it. Maybe I watch ‘Community’ way too much. But why focus on differences? Why not commonalities? Of course, as an ardent admirer of literature,  I understand that one needs to critique everything. I do. Honest. However, I like to believe that India can survive as one despite the fact that a nation is an imagined community, and India is way too heterogeneous.

I am a North Indian of Maharashtrian, Bengali, Rajasthani and Uttar Pradeshi descent. I have lived in South Indian city of Bangalore for the past 7 years. My South Indian friends call me Bhojpuri. North Indian ones call me Madrasi. I cannot point it out to them enough number of times that both are wrong terms. ‘Madras’ is Chennai now. and Bhojpuri is a language spoken by people of Bihar. Just yesterday, I realized I don’t want to point it out either. It doesn’t matter, you see. I am totally comfortable being neither here nor there – my heterogeneity is overlooked by people around me, who struggle to give me a homogenous identity. I am the perfect example of an imagined community.

I don’t mind being one.

Happy Independence Day, India.

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In a space

This piece that I wrote is incomplete. I did not know how to end it on paper, because the feeling of lost nostalgia has not gone away for me even now. I have not figured out how to deal with the change yet. the piece will be complete when I find closure. here is for my readers (possibly non-existent ones):

It was all unfamiliar. Well, not entirely. She knew the town like the back of her hand. Yet, it was all different, somehow. Even though she knew the town like the back of her hand, it felt like somebody had distorted her hand deliberately to confuse her. Thus, there was no way for her to not claim the hand as hers, but she could no longer recognize it.

She looked around her; the pesky little shopkeepers with the barely noticeable shops had been replaced by posh, suave boutiques, high-end departmental stores, and, to her utter horror, malls. She couldn’t even come up with an adjective for that blasphemy. Maybe she was overreacting. She had seen malls and high-end stores on a regular basis for six years in the cosmopolitan city she now lived in. Truth be told, she didn’t want to do away with those. She went to malls during weekend, window-shopping and eating at McD. However, somewhere in the back of her mind, she had always thought that her home would always be the this side of developed, whiney little town that always complained about its slow progress but did nothing to change its state. Now, change had come, and how. She could only find bare traces of her old town. The only thing that gave away the smallness of her small town was the heat. After six continuous years in a cool, centrally air-conditioned city, heat in her town seemed especially vengeful to her, like it was pissed off that she had lived in a centrally air-conditioned place for so long.

She didn’t mind the heat, though. It was a tad too much of sweating, agreed, but at least that hadn’t changed. She suddenly realized how much change bothered her. Not in herself, that change she hardly noticed. Of course, she isn’t the kid she was when she had left the town anymore. She was an adult now. No, the change that bothered her was the change she wasn’t a part of. Her home was supposed to be a reprieve, where she could tell stories of the big ol’ city, while healing herself in the comfort of her small town familiarity. However, her town had thrown her off completely.

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Contradictory me

I’m a bundle of contradictions. And not in a romantic, artsy way – in a real, sometimes concrete way.

I love to win, but sometimes I don’t mind losing.

I get confused between ‘s and s’, but I am a grammar Nazi.

I always want a balcony with a sweet (not great, just sweet) view, but I sit in my balcony with my back against the outside.

I love the rain, but I hate being stuck in it.

I like the feeling of wind ruffling through my hair and making contact with me – changing me forever, but I always tie my hair up and wear a scarf around my neck when its windy.

I often visit places that are grand and big and make me feel inconsequential, but I find real joy in eating hot, boiled corn on a slightly chilly day.

I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I don’t always get his movies.

I don’t always make sense, I always want to.

I don’t care enough, and sometimes that breaks my heart.

I sometimes have troubles with life, but I always want to live it.

I am not perfect, anyone can tell you that, and i don’t have all the answers, but I always ask questions.

I am a bundle of contradictions, and, for now, that would have to be enough.

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Dan Harmon, Community, Life, and everything in between

Yesterday (or was it the day before?), I heard the best news of my life. Dan Harmon, the creator of universe’s biggest gift to humankind, aka Community, was re-hired for the show. Now, I do not feel like going into the whole NBC-FIRED-HIM-AND-BRITTA’D-IT debate, but I do have to say that knowing that the man who I diligently follow, love and admire, is going to share his wonderfully weird, yet extremely intelligent viewpoints, with me again. I mean, I have said this a million times, but I will say it again, Community (till Season 3, of course) is the biggest piece of revelatory-philosophical-literary work that I have ever encountered. To me, it is not just the best TV show that was ever made, but the best work of art ever thought of.  ianalyzed and mulled over each line spoken by the characters on that show – and they all revealed to me things about life that I always had troubles understanding. Community means grey. Not life in black-and-white, but life in ambiguity and grey. Furthermore, it reveals to me the importance of acceptance, and celebration of grey. It is about imagination, empathy, and all of what comes in between


Seriously. Just this one simple line spoken by Evil Abed in Season 3 finale shows the genius that is Dan Harmon –


“When the world gets bad enough, Abed, the good go crazy, but the smart…they go bad.”


BAM! There it is. Put in the simplest way possible. The wisdom of life is one sentence.

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I feel a little serious today, non-existent folks. Despite the fact that I head the best news ever – Dan Harmon is returning to Community. Officially. World did something right today.

However, since I feel serious today, well, not in the super serious way, but in a contemplative manner, I will post a random (HA!) writing that poured of of me.

Today, I danced. He never wanted me to.

He didn’t get it. He knew I loved to dance, and he understood that. But he didn’t get what the big deal was about. It was just people shaking their bodies to a beat. He mistook dancing for swaying. Swaying was a part of dance, a part of me, yes. But he didn’t get it. Everytime I let the music fill my ears and my mind, I was transported. World made a little more sense. For the three to five minutes that I was moving to the music, I finally understood my place in the world. It sounded like a cliche done to death, but I belonged. When I felt my muscles tensing up in anticipation of music, and then loosen and flow accroding to their own fancy, I felt a part of the world. I could feel each breath that I took, I could feel the air particles getting in contact with my skin ferociously over and over again – because I wasn’t still – I was moving. I could feel the passage of air that passed through the spaces between my finger. I could feel my lungs protesting due to the pleasurable assault of movement on them. It was like adrenaline rushing through my body. Dancing wasn’t just a way of getting my “cardio” work out for the day, like he once jokingly said. Dancing is my safe haven. It is my sugar town, where people are good and things are in a blurry disorder, the kind of disorder you crave for.

Not to brag, but generally, I am an extremely selfless person. Selfless to the point of being a pushover. But when I dance, it is just me and the gentle pushing of my body to its extreme. Dancing is the one thing that is for me, and me alone. when I dance, the world just fades away – loud noises are reduced to faint murmurs, hustle, bustle and commotion around me is reduced to unregistered fog.

Today, I danced. He never wanted me to. I danced anyway.

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