Aside

Road no 12, Banjara Hills

It was this road that ran a good length into Banjara Hills, flanked protectively by luxury brands on either sides. Amrapali, the store read and an elevated cobblestoned driveway led to the side door. I walked in, step matching with Jigi. The first thing I noticed was some girl’s bleached hair, coloured rainbow, falling dry and limp on her shoulders. I turn away to look at Jigi.

” What are we doing here?” , I ask. We don’t normally just walk into a high end store without first drawing gigantic sketches that always concluded on, ” We’ll probably regret it, but lets do it”.

Standing a good foot tall above me, he barely looks at me and says, ” We are buying you a nosepin.”

“Here?”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah, No”

” Okay, I will buy a nosepin. You do whatever you want to do”

I sigh and maze my way to the bathrooms. When I was out, I could hear the lovely Indian classical music pouring right out of the papered walls onto the perfumed air. I could see the china, whose trims were writhed in pink roses and gold leaves. The world was a better place.

Jigi is waiting.

We climb up the stairs and reach our section of the store, that supposedly has nosepins. Well, not the kind my dear boyfriend envisioned. They were the size of a lemon. We laughed and looked around petty towels and perfumes until we got bored and out we went.

The first bubble of laughter from my lips escaped as fast as his first drag of cigarette that he blew at the setting sun. We walked, our backs against the sun, under a velvety blue sky.

Balcony blues 

The light of now isn’t the light that sweeps clean, the remnants of night from the farthest and the darkest corner of your room. No, the light of now, waiting behind the tallest apartment building, morning but barely, awaits the west side of the sky, to try its luck again. 
It escapes, sometimes, filtered, in patches, and pastes itself on my marble floor. What can I do? I am as helpless as you. I tread upon it, dipping my foot in a puddle of morning, and forget about it just as soon as it complains.
It’s time now, it is now waiting, the west windows of my home are painted red in their veins. It again slips through gaps between buildings, snaking its way through gullies, because the night is chasing, and it must hurry. Gasping, stumbling and reddening, it alights on my walls, breathing.
It changes colours, and dies a content death, fading into the fresh paint of my wall. No traces left, but a moist eye here and there, looking out of balconies, mourning.

“The Trip” and how feminism is misunderstood by wealthy media houses.

The Trip

So, one day, I come across this sponsored content on facebook, which was the first episode of a series called “The Trip”. I watched the first episode. It was stylish, the people were pretty and it had Mallika Dua in it and she’s adorable and incredibly funny.  I went eh and watched. I even somehow, got my boyfriend to watch it. We decided it was very pretend and we continued watching. ( Because, there is something soooooo seductive about bad content)

What is the nonsense about?

Four women, one of them is getting married, they plan a bachelorette, they bond, things go wrong for everybody at some level and they live happily ever after like chickens running around with their heads cut off.

Elements of the show and why they were a jarring pain

The branding – The endorsement and branding game in this series was another level. It was overkill.  You couldn’t get through even five minutes of an episode without being reminded to either blush (Because, feminism is aaaaal about blushing) or glow with the Lakme face wash.  I do not know what the objective of such aggressive stupidity was, but I am never buying anything Lakme ever again.

 The premise –  Oh, so a group of friends who have known each other for a while, get together for a wedding, plan a bachelorette and take a road trip? Wow, tell me more. Its not like it has been done  SO MANY TIMES ALREADY!  What was SO NEW about this that you wanted to make a show out of it ?  Huh ?

The Thailand/ Bangkok Obsession – What have these countries ever done to you, to deserve such negative press? I will just leave the question there for you to ponder over.

The boring romance – The romance between Lisa Haydon and the boyfriend ( Cause, he wasn’t cute enough for me to google his name, sorry) was so cringe worthy. It was like watching someone eat cornflakes at 4 am. It’s stupid and boring and I’d rather be sleeping.

The misguided Effort  You want to make a series about women bonding and getting stronger?  And you thought showing four rich, pretty women with petty issues and whiny attitudes is going to bring the message home?  What else did you think? That the moon was a star ?

The glorification of Consumerism – You watch this show, you will believe that money brings happiness, and warmth and love and a boyfriend and world peace. Money is everything. Buy all the stuff, it will keep you warm at night.

Nothing about the show shows women in a good light. It shows women running around, being petty, living undecided lives, all while they blush and glow in their Ford endeavor car while being comfy in their whisper sanitary pads. 

Oh but Mallika Dua, is lovely! She made the ordeal bearable.

 

Ms Ihavethedayoff

It was another one of those winter mornings. An endless gurgle of my complaints. This hurts. This hurts. This hurts.

I still woke up, it was already late. I had to get ready and get going. Wooooh! Yeah. I do a little stretch and a jig, a little cinematic bounce up and down. Let’s get this party going.  That’s when a sharp spike of pain from the depths of misery says hello to me. Oh right. Hye. I am on my periods. My incentive dips to subzero. I will mope throughout the day. I don’t want to be positive. No, I won’t do yoga

When I am deciding what to wear after I come out of the shower, half frozen, my phone rings. I am annoyed at the name. I want to snap. I want to tell the person its morning and I don’t take work calls before 10. I still pick up.

“Hello, Good morning”

“Good morning, Zeenath. We are given an off today..  so.. “ I stopped listening. After appropriate amount of time, I said,  “ Yay thanks. Bye!”

I throw my phone on the bed, quickly tip toe to it, make sure the cracked screen is still only cracked and not shattered, I go back to my happy ballet routine. I don’t know any ballet. I just flap my arms about. I have long arms and they are very flexible so they sometimes look graceful. * Slices an arch through the air* See?  No? Okay.

I complete my happy ballet routine and move through the day with renewed energy and a zealous appetite. I don’t need to diet. Not today. And when on periods, it doesn’t count. You are feeding the monster, not yourself. Its forgiven calories. Yes, even the cheese. My monster likes cheese.

Ain’t no drape. 

I like curtains. Not the feeble, lace trimmed, airy ones. Those ones entice the casual stalker, by softening the otherwise hard lines of a woman’s silhouette. I like the thick curtains which once shut, shut out the world with them. They are fierce protectors. Hanging by heavy rods, falling surprisingly gracefully the length of the window, theirs is an oath to shield. 

Let morning come, in all its noise and gurgle, making an embarrassment of itself, gilding the window frame. But these curtains, they only let the faintest hint of the morning breaking outside to the house. Should you permit, should you choose to, you may usher the morning. Should you find your eyes comfortably shutting, you may lie in bed all day, or watch sopranos, and the morning will be sent out, on its way, till it sulks into night. 

Tomorrow is another day. Another choice to make. Till you make it, the curtain will act the secretary to a high seat and only whisper of visitors to you. You have the royal permission of sliding the hoops of your loyal protector through the unfailing rod. 

Bedroom chills

Looking up at eye level mirror reflections, smiles shot at self’s lemon tinged dark, half taut skin stretched over a narrow frame, arms encircle the said frame, a hybrid hug stemming out of defense and love, head falls back letting the curls loose in the morning bedroom chill, from where a giggle erupts. It could go on forever, this self love. But, there are flyovers to be climbed, handbrakes to be pulled, coffees to be downed and a witnessing pending, of an afternoon turning into sweet sweet night.

Cistern Dreams 

Lying in the cistern of an afternoon, I extend my hand to the faucet, turn it. Pink, frothy water comes gushing out of it, like blood mixed with candy floss and settles at my feet, warm and consoling. Slowly, it fills the cistern, till the water comes over my chest. I drift into sleep.

In my sleep, I am nestled like chiffon at a woman’s waist. I imagine his voice, like sugar left to caramelise, that refuses to. How long has it been since I’ve turned to take a good look at prison that holds this voice for me? It’s eyes, like windows that opened to a camera badly focused, bright. It’s nose, proud and protruding and it’s lips from whence emanated the sound. In my sleep, I encircle the thick neck and stand on my toes, putting my own two lips to his’s, making a soft chirping sound.
The cistern overflows and I turn off the faucet. The water has grown cold and transparent. I step out, shivering and naked, I curl up into a ball under a blanket and text.

Comatose Comfort

There is disease like quality about a closed room. When I say closed, I mean robbed off all light and noise. A ceiling fan turns wretchedly stuck to its rhythm, cursed to creak as days run into years. The virtue of close quartered apartments, is harder to lose as a scrape of any kind on the floor above, sends a screech down your ceiling and walls, reminding you of how non-alone your self inflicted loneliness is.

Your laptop blares blue light, as your thumb flirts with your phone and the only thing that is getting your undivided attention, is the bed. You are stuck to it, like true love’s first kiss is stuck to the human delirium. First Rate Glue. Now and then, your eyes flick around the unchanged room and the room closes in further, making it harder to escape the prison, I like to call ” coma comfort”. You give up too. Its easier to let the semi darkness engulf you whole than to move. Moving takes so much character and right now,  you have the character of  a cardboard cut out lying forgotten at the back of an abandoned house. None.

But, life catches up to you. The evening prayer calls, resounding through the walls, people start coming and going into your room and one of them switches on the light. Ah, the ruin. You have been jerked out of the coma, by a very rude cure, called time. Time to bid goodbye to your infatuation with doing nothing and, oh the floor is so cold against your toes.

Five minutes later, you stand in front of the mirror, water running down your face.

Self Administered Heavy Dose

I love drama. I exaggerate like I am getting evaluated by the drama council of my life. I need to blow things of out proportion for me to make it all comfortable to me. I am my most comfortable when a loud sound is followed by a glitter rain and a tall vase tumbling down the stairs. Keep the tears rolling, keep the eyelashes long and bat those eyes like they are having a seizure. It will not get you true love, but, you will look sensational when you are crying about not getting true love. I am terrible, thank you.

I’ve watched episodes over episodes of successful drama series on my laptop. And as drama series go, they are extreme. Happiness, Anger, love, although love isn’t an emotion. I think, it’s an entirely different ballgame. But, that’s the gist of it. The emotions are extreme.  And, sadness and grief are extreme too.

A few years ago, as I watched men leaving professionally successful women with a reality check to ponder over, in a bed rampaged by last night’s sex, I just watched. I watched it like I would watch a commercial.  I watched women hand over their two year old engagement rings and I watched blankly. I watched people lie down on the floor on my laptop screen, looking blankly up at the ceiling, not answering their phone. I never realized the background music is a blessing. Without that, it would be impossible to watch people disintegrating in front of your eyes. To witness a gutting of a person is impossible to go through without being hallowed out of all sanity.

Today, the background music too betrayed. Because now, when I see someone slide down the door they softly closed on a person they softly asked to go, playing two years of togetherness in their head, I know, I don’t want to feel what they are feeling.  I don’t want to feel what it feels like to sit down on your bed and not have the energy to sleep or the resolve to get up. I don’t want to know what it feels like to get your heartbroken.

And scripted heartbreaks are even worse. Someone took time out, to figure out the lighting, the words, the music, the cameras and of course, it’s perfect, A perfect administration of tragedy into my veins, like a drip over the next three hours after I shut my laptop.

Drumbeat

Silence rules us. We abide by its palm pressed tightly against our mouths. A breathtaking morning is felt, not laid out neatly like tarot cards, in handpicked cherry like sentences. A freshly laid tar road, ambushed by the autumn shedding is taken in, not talked of.

But a change of season is too tempting to let go of without at least once, half swinging, sneakily to the drum beats of the heralding song.  Winter is here and the moon lingers, the sun behaves like a caffeine addict. It rises grumbling, slowly and by noon, with coffee in its system it rains down anxiety on my city.  The winter sun stings, we scurry off to cold walls, in dug out sweaters.