Red… For Hadia

SO we enter the abstract domain. Hadia, the inspiration behind this activity has herself asked me to write on “Red”.  This is what I feared. For me, anything that isn’t particular to the tee becomes nauseatingly close to psychoanalysis. And that scares me to pieces.

Yet, these are some disjointed thoughts that I associate the colour to.

*****

Mohabbatein was an all-round snooze fest. And as in every desert there blooms a cactus, yours truly took away a key message from the movie. Red Flower = Love, and Yellow Flower = Friendship. This of course was a part of the ever elusive Rose Day celebration in the cool college. And then the college I studied in had its own Rose Day celebrations. The only red roses I received that year were in a bouquet from a girl *cue confusion*. To her I remain eternally grateful for opening my eyes.

On a side note, I justified to myself that one offers red hibiscus to Ganesh idols because it’s “love”.

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I owned a red salwar kameez once which was just as gaudy as it was loud. It was bought for a school annual day event where the women were all “wives”. Of course the red was to be synonymous with married women. And that dress I wore whenever I felt like dressing up as Indian. I did the whole shebang with a bindi, and earrings etc. This phase went on till I realised the dress was suitable only in the context of “Ye Desh Hain Veer Jawaano Ka.” The only red I’ve worn since are a sporadic kurta here and there. Associations with choodha-wearing brides make me too conscious.

*****

I had an allergic reaction last year to who knows what. My face was swollen and was the shade of tomatoes. I ended up in the Emergency Room and then the ICU. But when I looked myself in the mirror, I realised this is what it must look like when an author says “he/she turned a brighter shade of red with embarrassment.” For me embarrassment is felt in the stomach, seldom shows up on my face.

*****

I remember my mother crying when I first started my period. I was 10, maybe 11. And she cried when she shared the “news” with her mother, then with her best friend and finally just cried every time she mentioned it to anyone. I didn’t get it then as to why she was crying if specks of blood showing up every month were normal, as she explained. A year later, the cramps began. Now, I cry every month yearning for the first decade of my life when I wasn’t bending double over my stomach.

*****

Marilyn Monroe looked like she had it all when she wore red lipstick. I think it was one of the late-night movies I sneaked a glance at oblivious to my parents. And then I noticed almost all of the “English film women” wore red lipsticks. At a discussion with peers (fellow preteens), I think one friend said it looked better on screen while another said it looked better on their skin tone than Indian actresses’. I bought my first red lipstick last year after a hijra woman I was interpreting for told me it would make my eyes stand out. Boy was she right.

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Priya Wal looked so damn cool in her red highlights in Remix, that Anwesha was my ultimate idol when I was in school. I wanted flaming red hair. Till I discovered naturally red hair. I realised I could never have those, or carry it off as confidently. The last time I was envious of the same was when I saw a senior colleague who carries off the red curls with better panache than Katrina Kaif in Fitoor. In my head, whenever I rebel, I have red highlights.

The Beach When It Rains… For Chaitri

There was a stage in my life when I loved to run around in the rains and get drenched.

Now I love to stay indoors and listen to some Petrichor appropriate songs (different from rain songs). And therefore I do not have a recent memory of the beach and rains together. I have one from a while back though. .. And it’s a moment I try to recreate here.

*****

The third year of college was an incredible year for me. If I were to plagiarise, I would say it were the best of times and the worst of times.

Therefore, once it ended and I was done with seeing docs, I decided to take a group trip. And this one was to Kihim and Korlaigadh. Also, whoever had heard of going to a beach in the rains?

Nevertheless, I went ahead with the plan. This post isn’t about the trip, though it was magical in itself. This post is about the beach where I got drenched to the bone.

*****

I’m a beach person. I’d been to Alibag before, and therefore to Kihim too. Yet, this time was different. Earlier I’d been with friends, and this time with strangers. And I guess that made all the difference in the world.

If you’ve been to Kihim, you’d know that it’s not the cleanest of beaches. It’s dirty, muddy and attracts the kind of crowd I don’t get along with- the drunken revellers who seem to be a constant presence on the beaches.

And ordinarily, I’d complain endlessly about these to everyone in the vicinity. However, as a stranger with a bunch of people who didn’t know me, I shut up. And if  you know me, you’d know that’s very difficult.

And then, as I tenderly entered the water, it started to drizzle. It’s frustrating at first, when you want to play in the waves but the rain hits your head… The first instinct is to run away and hide.

But imagine not being able to see the waves because everything in front of you is just… Water. So you give in, you let go.

I don’t remember too much from this trip, except that when I took a bath later, I still felt like the waves were moving me around. It was a Holi with the rain shower and pichkari-like experience.

*****

I don’t think I’ll love the rains on the sand too much now. I don’t even think I’ll love getting drenched either. But that one time, just that once, I didn’t really mind it so much.

*****

Yes, it says sukhi aatma.

Gender Roles and Men…for Akshay

I speak too often on this topic for me to want to speak anymore on it. But because it’s one of the prompts, I’ll add my own twist to it.

Toxic masculinity, and conforming to concepts of accepted manliness isn’t an abstract concept. It is a lived reality of our lives. Our lives. You too, boys.

*****

You know what made me curious about Fan? Yes, the SRK movie with him in a double role? The fact that at least one version of SRK cries. And it’s not random shedding-a-tear-at-your-daughter’s-wedding-crying, it’s the proper crying session with snot coming out his nose and whimpering kinds.

It’s the girl kind of crying.

*****

One of my closest friends had his first sip of alcohol after his first break up, in high school. Because that’s how “guys drown their sorrows”. The next day we had a bitching-about-the-ex-over-icecream session. And that’s something we do to this day with every new break up. 

*****

Alok Nath is my favourite kind of Bollywood father. He’s not as traditional as Amrish Puri, but he’s not as modern as Anupam Kher. He’s the father who offers to educate his daughters against popular wishes. He also makes sure his daughters-in-law are treated like family. Unfortunately, he’s also the one who puts maryaada before any thought of self preservation. It’s expected of him to sacrifice for the daughters till the time he lives. And boy, he never disappoints! 

*****

Last year, I met a 10-year-old boy. A son of a friend’s. He wanted to be a chef, but his mother said no one gives brides to baawarchis.*

*****

In a class of 100 odd students, there were 5 boys in my college. These were boys who chose “arts”, or as we would say today, the liberal arts. The common assumption made about them? The dating pool was very large and accessible for them. After all, arts wasn’t a career choice.

*****

I didn’t recognise myself as a feminist for a very long time. I thought the movement, the term were all very dated. I thought the movement needed to rebrand itself from men bashing to something more positive. I am also sitting on the upper echelons of the privilege pyramid. I didn’t think I was ever forced onto any gender norms. So it was never relevant to me either.

Till one day, it all was.

You may think the call for gender equality and dismantling patriarchy isn’t your business. But it’ll fall into place one day. One day, when your life’s choices being dictated by your genitals will be problematic to you too.

*A cook at home.

Non-Monogamy or somewhere in the ball park area…For Sneha

I’d really appreciate it if you, as a reader, would decide for yourself if this is a topic you’d like to read. Skip to the next post if you’re not comfortable. Anyway, these are musings. There’s no point to it.

One of the things about being in the unmarried minority of 26-year -olds is ruminating on relationship dynamics all the time.

Non-monogamy isn’t new to these ruminations.

*****

As a curious, 10-year-old voracious reader, I came across the very scandalous idea that all of mankind was sired (umm, what’s the female equivalent?)  by 7 women. 

While my understanding of sexuality and sex was minimal (nil), it seemed strange that each woman would have SO many children. I had barely understood this concept, when I came across another scandalous article. A woman who talked about how she lived with her husband and girlfriend in the same house.

It took me another decade to grasp the concept of non – monogamous, polyamourous, or even non – heterosexual relationships. Yes, that long.

*****

My most favourite movie as a child was Kuch Kuch Hota Hain. Big surprise. If you grew up in the 90s, the eternally college going SRK was as irresistible as the basket ball-playing, summer camp-going Kajol. Rani Mukherjee was a by the way person in their love story.

And that was my point of reference for relationships for the longest time- soul mates meant to be together even if there are many people who matter to you much walking in and out of your life.

So you wait and you wait, till a person you’re meant to be with walks into your life. Or dances in. Or plays rugby. Or your mom spots one in a wedding.

Here’s the thing though, do you realise how much pressure that is on one person?

Ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi reh sakte. By which logic I should’ve had no trouble in being married by now. Multiple times. I could have a husband for everyday of the month, and then some.

And yet, it’s the expectation of being everything. The be all for one person for the rest of your life, for all your needs, that’s cumbersome.

*****

A worldly-wise friend of mine once said to me that you’ve not really been in a relationship till the time there are constraints on your life. While that’s not globally true, it’s a big disappointment for most people when their significant other is not jealous. Jealous = Invested in the relationship.

But then, heterosexual monogamy is the norm. I see friends give in to the pressure of relationships and align themselves to expected/accepted behaviour all the time. And  that’s because one is supposed to be in a long-term successful relationship.

I’ve seen many a person ruined by the pressure to conform. To be normal. Yet I find this elusive concept of a normal, everyday relationship slipping from my grasps. And that’s a struggle.

*****

I live in two houses now, one with the family and one with a flatmate. The latter is closer to work. I own two backpacks. One for work and one for travel. I have a bunch of friends to watch movies with, and another to discuss life with. I even own two phones, one for regular use and one back up.

Do you get the drift?

Spontaneity… 

I take a holiday often, aka the reason people envy me. 

I have an excel sheet that has plans for all my vacations. So I basically research the life out of every place I go to. And places I want to go to. And places I may someday go to.

Which is why, it’s totally out of character for me to do something I didn’t plan and think about in advance. Also, take opinions on. 

This morning, I saw an interesting post where a friend asked for topics to write on, and for the first time, I decided to blog as I thought. Yes, it’s unbelievable that I put in any thought into my posts. But I do. So I put a similar post of mine. 

So here’s a day of random posts about nothing and everything. 
PS. I think this is a major excuse for people to pull my leg and suggest outlandish stuff. Thankfully, they’re not. 

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – First Impressions (Spoiler-free)! 

It’s overwhelming. Yup, that’s the word for it.

First things first, I’m giving out no spoilers. Read the rest of this post if you want to know what I thought of it and  to answer the question on everyone’s mind: Is it worth buying?
The short answer: If you’re not going to have the opportunity to watch the play, YES.

The long one:

Fans who followed the release and the news closely, would know that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes off where the Epilogue of Deathly Hallows left us. But here’s the thing, I don’t think Harry Potter ever left us. And that’s what J3 (Joanne, John and Jack) do. 
So,  yup. The play is a play on nostalgia, on our extremely fragile sentiments and of  course, takes you right into its arms from the word go. If like me,  you read all the books when they launched, a typical rainy Sunday; this script will make you travel across time and space. 
Without letting out much, let me tell you this, the play reads like it was made for the fans. And I’m not complaining! It feels like the fandom and its likes/dislikes were taken into consideration. Every time a new scene begins, you’ll either have moist eyes or pants (sorry!). If you’ve been a demented fan like me, you’ll know exactly what’s going to happen next. It’s the how it happens that I loved. 

At various points of my two-hour read I had to take a moment to wipe off a tear or really take it all in. This is something I could root for. This is it.

Is the play intense? Naah. Is it funny? In parts. But is it a fitting continuation of the series? Really depends. 

What I expected from the script of the   play was the story. The answer to ‘what next?’, and that bit was marvellous. Even if it’s not the same trajectory I imagined. What I’m now excited about is the actual stage production, because this reads like it was meant to be a movie. (Sidenote: I’d be really disappointed if this is not turned into another money-spinner on the big screen)

The plot in itself is complicated and at times goes into the implausible. You don’t want to believe J3 did that! SHE did that. But I guess, as the demographic of the Harry Potter fan changes (we’re almost all adults), some things had to. And boy does that bring about mixed feelings!

So, should you buy it? Yup, unless you get to watch it first. Even then, I guess I’ll buy the final script for posterity (this one was an ebook purchased on Pottermore).

Should you go in with expectations of it being the 8th book? Nope. Think of it as a tribute to the series. To its fans.

So did you finish reading it too? Are you reading it a second time already? I am!

Let me know what you thought of it!

PS. Please no spoilers in the comments! 

Here Goes Nothing…

Ahem. I am going to blog like nothing happened. Let’s ignore the last year when I completely gave up on writing. Ok? OKAY.

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“Oh God Why Me?”

I turned another year older last month. Honestly, I cannot pinpoint to anything that’s changed in the last year. The last few years though? A LOT.

Responsibility comes with age, said my school teacher. Ya, right.

I cannot for the life of me point to one phase of my life where I didn’t feel that I wasn’t surrounded by kids. Too many negatives in that sentence. Basically, I’ve always felt like I was surrounded by immature kids who could do with some growing up.

Which gets me to my current phase in life.

I don’t blog as frequently as I used to at one point. I take on more work than what I can humanely accomplish. Which leads to muddled up deadlines and a lot of apologies. Much like the kids in my class.

See, there? I am actually growing more rash, as I grow up.

One might argue, that growing up is actually about taking calculated risks. But really, I am too much of a scared kitten for it to apply to me.

SO what are the risks I have taken in the last few years? Let’s see…

  1. I decided to let go of a career I dreamt of having since I was a kid. Sigh. (The sting never leaves, does it?)
  2. I have decided to get totally disconnected to any mainstream news and pop shows. (Still getting there!)
  3. I decided to be a teacher. (This is not funny.)

I put myself up for scrutiny every day. Every single day. The fellow teachers, the snotty 17-year-olds who cannot even cook their own food, the neighbours, the friends. Everyone judges me, because I am a teacher.

And no, this isn’t the snide, oh-you-must-be-teaching-because-you-can’t-do-anything-else kind of judging. That I can deal with. It’s the career-advice and job-accomplishments type of judging. Big deal, you say?

“Everyone gets that!”

NOT really.

You see, the problem is this: Not all of us might ever have dealt with a civil engineer. Not all of us know exactly what a doctor does. Nobody wants to know what an architect does. Or even a designer for that matter. None of us have a clue what CAs do! But here’s the thing, every single one of us, has had a teacher. Probably for an extended period of time. This, apparently, qualifies all and sundry to tell me how to do my job.

Now here’s the thing, I am new to this job. I never professionally trained to be a teacher. But I am one. And if I need advice, I’d rather go to someone who is a teacher rather than ask you, Madame and Monsieur Randome. You, who were teachers for one glorious day in 10th standard when you lorded over a bunch of 10-year-olds.

Also, everyone who is a teacher has only one advice for everyone else. You learn on the job! You’ve no clue what a class will be like unless you’re there – experiencing that hate emanate from a multitude of sources. Hate, or awe. There is never an understanding or appreciation for what you do, in my very vast experience. Kidding.

There’s a silent understanding – ‘I will behave. Hence, it is my right to demand that you end the class 10 minutes earlier than scheduled.’

I get this, and I do this; because even if I may be this young-ish teacher who is still figuring out how to carry on talking when a 100 faces are furiously stabbing at their iphones; I was on the other side of the table just a few moments ago. And while I demanded of my teachers to be a little more considerate towards me, a person balancing her education and a job, I think I can extend the same courtesy to my kids.

Moral of the story? As I grow another year older, I’ve realised educating someone isn’t entirely my cup of tea. Not yet at least. I will probably need advice. Not yours, though. Maybe advice from the people I am trying to learn with. My students.

PS. This birthday bought some awesome gifts. That deserves its own post! 😀