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B O T T L E N E C K

Bhagyamma, come outside.
On the table are some samosas and tea, bring them.
This is the man you are to marry.
This man will be your all from now.
Let the gods bless our children.
Everything shall be perfect for them, I foresee.
Now your daughter is ours.
Everything we shall provide for her.
Cherish my son Bhagyamma, he is nothing but a blessing or;
Kill us if this marriage doesn’t work.

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A Video Game

Shhhhh, The Princess would like to address the crowd
Thanks Mario! I guess
For fighting all those wizards and riding on the backs of dolphins and travelling such long distances to save me.
You keep saying it was a lot of hard work, how you almost lost your life for which I should be grateful

But from where I look at it, at you, it seemed like a lot of fun.
But what do I know?
Like a kitten stranded on the highest branch of a tree

What do I know because I sit in this fucking castle guarded by that fire breathing dragon for however long it takes for your slow shit ass to get past that stupid flying level. Because all I want to do is get married and step into another level of isolation (called matrimony) with you annoying prick, you whose brother wears the same clothes except in different colours, like twin babies.

I don’t have time for you, I’m busy filing my taxes, because I’m a princess and make more money than you do.
But I’ll definitely call you; when I need my toilet unclogged.
I’m not your princess,
I might be busy getting ready to take over throne, to rule an entire country.
I’m busy, Mario
I’ve got phone calls to make and emails to send.

Did you really think I was trapped by Bowser?
Nope.
I hired Bowser because I’m too busy to reject you at the door
And you think that I need your help, I need you every time I don’t answer.

Can’t a woman just get some alone time to deal with her shit?
What shit?
Body shaming, gender roles, mother hood, the fact that she can’t wear anything she likes.

You ride a dinosaur that comes in more colours than my inner wear ever will.
Oh wait, no, in more colours than my lingerie ever will.
Will I ever get to ride a dinosaur?
Will I ever get to ride anything but you?
I don’t know. I probably will, because I want to and because I can.

Screw Society.

You don’t deserve me.
You don’t even know who you are.
I should have stayed with bowser, because he knew he was a monster.
He at least wasn’t some fucktard, who thought human decency is foreplay.

You’re nothing but that toxic boyfriend, who’ll buy me dinner and call me a bitch when I refuse to serve him peach for dinner.
You are that asshole on the street whose smile creeps me and gives me. Goosebumps.
You are this entire goddamned country where it is legal for men to rape their wives

Dear Mario,
I don’t need you
No girl needs you
Sorry (Not Sorry) to break it to you,
But what people have told you is a lie.
No one needs you.

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When the colour of the curtains turned a colour that I did not know

coloured curtains

It was in the summer of 2012 that I saw my body change, I saw it in the bathroom, where I’d undress and step into the shower.
And then I’d squeeze some shower on my hands and run them across my body, to lather and to clean, and that is when I felt something alien on my body.
Why on my on my armpits and down there I thought
The colour of the curtains had changed from nothing all, to blackish brown hair.
I was then given a razor and asked to shave it off because I am a girl and girls do that.
I have shaved my body hair over four hundred and fifteen times in several showers.
I started shaving when I was in the seventh grade.
A girl told me that I should and I didn’t want to but she was only the first.
The second one I laughed, the third almost convinced me to wax my entire body. And the fourth didn’t even have to speak, she just looked at me with a sigh of disgust like I was some dirty, uncouth, barbarian.
I started shaving even before I knew how to drive.
I’ve shaved my body hair over four hundred and fifteen times till today and not once have I done it for myself.
My legs and hands yes, to feel silky smooth when I touch them but my pubic hair- never.
Always to impress, always because of the fear of swimming and getting mocked and because of the fear of ending up without a husband and dying alone.
But I stopped shaving when I was in the ninth grade and it wasn’t the boys who smirked, who bothered me, but my feminist friends laughed and teased me every time I wore tank tops, and the other women who sighed in disgust every time I lifted my arms although I’d spent so many years trimming myself to be sexy, to be someone else and this made me wonder what about my hairy body was so disgusting which had made all these women’s hands want to wax me.
Was it because I wasn’t being a woman the right way?
Was it because the word woman signified a hairless being?

I was twelve when my mother told me that I was now a woman.
That was when the colour of the curtains turned red and I didn’t know what to do. I was scared and terrified. Blood was flowing out of my body.
My heart was racing. My stomach hurt like it was being punched my little fists within. My head hurt.
I wanted to cry.
And I didn’t know what periods meant because until then periods were only every teacher’s class in school.
Periods now meant blood and not the duration of a class.
Was I too young for this pain?
Has pain ever seen age?
I didn’t know.
But there I was a woman.
And to think of myself as a woman has been the most terrifying thing.
It took me more than just sometime to recognise it for the medal of honour that it is.
Because it meant that I had survived.
That everything that had tried to kill me had failed.
It signified strength.
But then why aren’t we all called women from the very beginning because to be born with an XX chromosome is itself an achievement?

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Music & Me

music and me

Music means a lot to me. Music has an extremely powerful impact on me. Music does something to me that nothing else or nobody else can. It can make me cry, it can make me want to jump around, make me calm down, make me angry, motivate me, literally anything. I honestly cannot imagine my life without music. Music is the most satisfying activity for me. I love music so much that I have to listen to it every day and on the days that I don’t I end up feeling unnecessarily upset and cranky. The effect that music has on me is probably the effect that a drug has on a person.

But I can’t get myself to pick one genre or a few genres of music to be my favourite. I can’t get myself to dislike a genre also. I think that that is because music is related to what I think and feel. It can literally control me. I like Pop, EDM, rock, Carnatic, Hindustani, Folk music, Country music and Jazz. They all make me feel different things.  I like Pop and Classical Carnatic instrumental music a lot. Maybe like a forty- sixty. Classical Carnatic Instrumental music does something to me, it can literally control me. I’ve learnt Carnatic vocal also but I honestly haven’t experienced anything thing like this. I was introduced to Carnatic instrumental music when I was 14 years old. I played the Veena for the first time then and it made me extremely happy, so happy that I cried. I don’t know the reason behind this but it definitely did something to me. Playing the Veena is my soul food. I used to have Veena classes on every Tuesday and Thursday. I used to go to class in a kurta and tights and open my music book, keep it in front of me, my teacher’s Veena on my lap, apply Vaseline Petroleum Jelly on the fingertips of my left hand and start off. I initially found it very thrilling to be able to play the simplest of swaras like Saralivarase but then grew to find it pointless that I can play simple and basic pieces when I struggle with even the letters of later and a little difficult ones. I grew as a person in Veena classes. I learnt patience, I learnt to be committed and I learnt to put in the best of my efforts. If not for this experience, I would have been a completely different person. Nothing had had such a huge impact on me before that; not even failing those math papers. This has been my most personal experience with music so far. But then with exams and a shortage of time I couldn’t do justice to it and I remember crying about that and when I decided to leave. I had learnt to play till Hamsadhvani when I stopped. I still play the Veena, I learn from YouTube and play at home for myself but it isn’t the same anymore. I literally miss how my fingers would get cuts because of those strings. They don’t anymore and it hurts me more now. I think I love Carnatic Instrumental Music. I think playing the Veena is what I love. But I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite genre because the word favourite, I think, that will put that genre on a pedestal and make it seem extremely special.

I’m not inclined to music as such. I can’t sing. I used to learn but that was only to help me play Veena. I began learning music when I was six and I hated it back then, I remember telling my mom that I didn’t want to go because it wasn’t cool but I wish I knew back then that, what is cool is not necessarily what matters. I wish I had someone to tell me that like I tell my younger brother and my cousin sister who wants to learn Bharatnatyam but who also doesn’t want to. If I had someone to tell me that back then, I’d definitely be a different person today. So I stopped eating my lunch as a sign of protest, this was approximately eight months after I started, and then I stopped learning music. And six years later I fought and insisted on going back to learning music.

It was in 2014 that I realized that the music we listen to, both English Hindi, is in some way a really adulterated form of music because it caters to the people, the mainstream way of thinking and I don’t think that that is right. I’m not referring to all pieces or songs but like some of them only. I’m sure that I’m not the one to judge whether it is right or not but I don’t think it is right. It was then that with great difficulty I made a conscious effort to listen to different kinds of music. I came upon Beatles then, though not for the first time, but it was then that I realized the magic in it. I love their song “Norwegian Wood” and “She Loves You” and the others and the songs by George MIchael and it is because of these that  I’ve become such a calm and composed person. I listen to the songs by Beatles all the time. When I’m baking, when I’m reading, when I’m cleaning my room, when I’m upset or when I’m crying my eyes out. These songs to me are like my pillow, that without which I cannot sleep. These songs to me are that comfort and warmth. It is like I’ve found a new version of myself. I love this me so much and know that I don’t regret the fact that I changed and that I never will.

I really like how music has impacted me so much and how it has taught me more than any book or person has. It feels good. Music, I’ve come to believe, is a part of everyday life, not only referring to the fact that I make a conscious effort to listen to music on a daily basis but in a way that music is a part of life. Music has changed over the years to mean something that I can hear and that I like to hear because it makes me feel positive. I’ve started doing certain things just so I get to hear things, just so I get to listen to certain things that make me feel the way music does, that can control me the way music can. I wake up at 4:30 in the morning and make coffee for myself, listening to the dogs of my neighnourhood bark and howl.  I then sit with my coffee in my balcony, watch the sky fill with colours and hear the birds chirping and then listen to the newspaper delivery boy’s cycle which he slows down in front of every house and throws the newspapers in, making me wonder how he manages to aim that well that it is not disturbed by the force of the wind or the height of the building, and I listen to the milk man come in on his scooter, that he stops after every five houses and keeps the one liter or half liter milk packets in the windows of people’s houses and yells out, “Haal ittideeni thogoli.” After which I hear my mom yell, “Shriya come inside and bring your mug, don’t leave it there.” And my day begins…

I’ve come to think that what may sound like music to you and to me, is nothing but a means of communication for another. Maybe birds that are flying out of their nests are telling each other things like, “Have a good day, take care, I love you” or maybe “Wait for me, we’ll go together.” Wouldn’t we know that the newspaper has been delivered even though the delivery boy doesn’t tell us or yell out that it has been, because we hear it fall on the ground of our balconies or in our house? Wouldn’t we know that the milk has been delivered just by hearing the sound of the engine of the milk man?

So I think music is all about communication. Music is nothing but certain stimuli that tell us something. And I think what we make of it is entirely dependent on the situations that we are in. In my case itself, I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed sitting in the balcony and listening to all of this early in the morning if I had to make everything for myself: my breakfast, my lunch and clean the house. Maybe I do now, because I can relax and leave the rest to my parents. I don’t think I’ll enjoy these in around 8 years from now. Things change and what music is to you today will also change. Not easily. The change won’t be fast. But change is bound to happen. Music will change. My opinions on music will also change, slowly. No matter how much I don’t want anything to change, everything will change.

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Your opinions matter.

youropinionsmattertoo

Darling,
You were born to be a rainstorm,
To send your voice out, in through the night.
To sing your song; irrespective of the falling drops,
To break the darkness with your light.

You were born
To show the world the true meaning of beauty,
To wash away the dirt from their eyes.

But when the world didn’t listen,
You opened your arms,
You accepted what they said
And made your thunder silent
And taught yourself to bite your tongue and hold back.

You gave them what they wanted-
Sunshine, rain and life.

You don’t realise that you were hurting yourself,
That are taking you for granted.

You miss your booming presence in the sky;
You feel it and you know it.

Remember one thing,
You were born to be a rainstorm,
Not rain,
Not drizzle.
You were born to be chaotic and bold,
To show that small doesn’t mean insignificant,
To show the world that you cannot be controlled.

Don’t ever think that you are not needed.
Life without you may be the same,
But remember that you matter
And that there won’t be anyone like you.

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Anticipation

anticipation

Isn’t life all about anticipation?
Or has it become something that’s all about anticipation?

People these days live in anticipation
Of what will happen the next moment, the next hour, the next day, the next week, the next month and the next year.
Life has truly lost its meaning.

People have completely lost the ability to cherish the moment they have,
And to cherish what they have.

Greed and anticipation have taken over life.
We always want more than what we have.
We long to have more than what we have
And live not for the moment but for another.

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Difficulties of Life

Life.
We are all born vulnerable,
And we all live extremely vulnerable lives.
Forever exposed to threats, challenges and difficulties.

The difficulties of life are endless.

We are born not knowing when death will dawn on us.
We grow up a little only to realise that who we are is not enough and that we have to change ourselves to be liked, to be loved.

We are put in schools,
Made to slog day and night to get that perfect score,
That is expected to get us a perfect life.
This process goes on for another twenty years,
And then we get a job,
Where we slog to get that perfect pay package
That promises us a perfect life.

We get married,
We have children,
We change ourselves to be able to co-exist with another soul,
To nourish another life.

Then old age gets to us,
The bad health,
The weakened body,
The dependence.
The pain.

And then comes death bringing with it peace.

The greatest difficulty of life is that we do not live at all.
We are nothing but puppets controlled by family and society,
That subject us to several challenges on the pretext that they intend to teach us and give us joy.
But do any of them while ensuring that we are happy, ask us if we like what we are doing?
Rather, what we are made to do.

The thing about life these days is that it is nothing but an extremely mechanical process,
Where we are not allowed to think, to explore and to choose what we want.
It is a process of pretentious growth where people impose what they think is good for us.