Humbled.

Humbled.

Took the time out today

To look back on my life

To reach out to people and say

I’ve missed them all this time

Been a while

Since we ventured out

Since we exchanged smiles

With the people next door

Is this how I’m meant to go

And if yes,

Why wasn’t I told before?

I’d have made changes then

But I guess it’s now too late

To fix someone’s mistake-on-purpose

That messed up our fate

We can only debate

We can only watch, and wait

With sanitizers and bated breath

As the numbers elevate

With no hope on the horizon yet

On the upside though

You can see the earth heal herself

Despite having a long way to go

Some things are falling into place

The skies are bluer, yes

The grass, legitimately revived

The wind feels like a caress

All of this has got me thinking

What if we’re the parasite

The human race, as a whole?

And this virus, Earth’s antibody armed to fight

This extortion we’ve imposed on her?

It’s all about perspective, really

So maybe if we go, we go for good

There’s more to life than likes, silly

So live the lockdown like you should

Social distancing has humbled me

Made me so grateful for all I’ve got

Love, light and happiness is all I need

So I’m going to live life with gratitude.

Bengali Weddings, Part One: The Ugly

Bengali Weddings, Part One: The Ugly

I don’t know if this is a thing will all relatives, or just some of the people in my (very, very extended) family but…

I have a huge family, okay? Back in the day, nobody had heard of birth control or television or any other form of entertainment. This meant that their only source of um, relaxation, ended up resulting in tiny humans and burning holes in the parents’ pockets, putting the ever growing family into economic stress. They also used to get married in their early teens, making teenage pregnancies super common. Many kids would die of complications following childbirth and their husbands would end up marrying other kids. Sounds gross, but that used to be a legit thing, child marriage.

My grandma got married at a young age too. Her first child, my oldest aunt, was born eighteen years before my mum came along. My oldest aunt is in now her seventies, and my grandma passed away ages ago. I don’t remember her much, unfortunately, but she was a nice person. Same goes for my Dad’s mum. I don’t even remember having met her. The only memento I’ve got of hers is a photograph of me in her lap, and she’s wrinkled as a prune and I’m barely two. And I look mighty uncomfortable as heck.

Having said all of that, it also means that when you’re about to get married, the whole clan comes to town. Irrespective of whether you’ve ever met them or not. They just seem to pop out of thin air. Suddenly you have three hundred aunts and five hundred nieces and you’re a legit grandma and aunt and aunt-in-law. If you’re the bride, your parents have to bear all the expenses – from the relatives stay to their comforts. And when your parents are extra and don’t get the concept of low-key weddings, the budget overflows and puts your parents in debt. Sometimes you need to end up selling assets, sometimes you give yourself depression and stress but you won’t chill with the number of heads on that guest list because you’re a prominent member of the society so you’ve to make your kid’s nuptials a grand affair. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The age gap between my Dad’s siblings and my Dad has also resulted in my oldest cousin being born over TWO decades before I was. He calls my Dad “Uncle” but he’s only a few years younger than my Dad. *Jeez.* The rest of my cousins are way older than I am too, and we never really meet on the daily. I mean, the last time I ever saw any of these guys and their wives would be like, 2013. And it was awkward as heck. I didn’t attend any of their weddings but they’re all going to show up when the next wedding happens. Yikes. And with the estrogen comes the judgements. And with the older women, comes the tongue-clacking and the nosy behavior.

If you hate people and have awful social anxiety, nobody notices you going into depression because they’re too busy making your mum show them your wedding shopping and making snide comments about every saree you’ve picked. And about your weight. And about your dark circles and thinning hair. And the list goes on.

By the time the wedding approaches, it’s a miracle if you have any hair or body weight left.

The Twin

The Twin

I was getting married in three hours. I’d suddenly developed this awful headache, and told my hairstylist to give me a second.

I must have fallen asleep.

Someone was shrieking rather loudly in my ears, and also shaking me persistently.

“LOU? LOU! Wake up, Louise! Oh, God!”

I opened my eyes and everything was so bright, it took me a while before I realized that I was bound and gagged, in my underwear. My mother was in tears, in shock, and a long moment passed before I noticed that we were Inside Missy’s closet.

Missy was my dead twin sister.

We had gone swimming one night, while on a family trip to Bali, and the tide had swept us in. And I had lost track of time and woken up to find Missy gone. She’d stayed gone. The’d never found a body. We had a closed casket funeral for her, with fourteen-year-old me clinging to my mother’s arm, both of us inconsolable.

It had been ten years since.

The only thing that I happened to register now, at this point, was my very terrified mother asking, “But who did Sean get married to? We all thought it was obviously you! She even called me Momsicle!” The only person – apart from me – who ever called our mother that, was Missy. Who we held a freaking funeral for. Ten bloody years ago.

Sean is – was – my fiancé. Sean was also Missy’s teenage crush. Missy and Sean never happened because of the incident. I’d never meant to fall in love with Sean – I didn’t – but fate has awful ways of meddling with people’s lives and he’d proposed to me on my twenty fourth birthday, after three years of dating.

I looked at the date – February 14 – and realized that he was probably on his way to Florence. With his new wife. Who looked exactly like me.

WTF Wednesday: The Reply Guy

WTF Wednesday: The Reply Guy

Oh my God.

I thought reply guys weren’t that big of a deal until I found this whole article on Mashable. Who is a reply guy, you ask? Well…

If you’re a woman on Twitter, give it a few weeks and you’ll be assigned a reply guy that will soon get on your nerves and keep you from tweeting in peace. Usually, these men start out innocent. But that escalates very quickly and he soon becomes an annoying pest, adding so much anxiety and stress to your life that you wish you could just block the dude. But you can’t because you never know how far a man would go to make things messier than ever.

According to two scientists on Twitter, there are nine types of reply guys:

Now, looking at this chart, I feel like my reply guys fit into every category. Notice the plural: it’s that bad. The worst part is, they reply to every freaking tweet of yours, acting like they’re your best friend, when in reality you’ve only ever spoken to them in DMs a couple times. I guess some men love to assume that they’re a part of your inner circle or something, even if you’re nice to them perfunctorily and that is it. This means, once you engage, there’s literally no backing out. Even if this means you cannot tweet in peace at all. Even if this means all your tweets are going to get responses. Condescending as ever responses, too.

The best solution to this is basically just leaving the reply guys alone. Even if their tweets are triggering, because sometimes you’ve gotta avoid a conversation completely if you want to keep your peace of mind in one piece.

Sometimes I honestly wish you could delete other people’s tweets.

Helping The Community: The Dark Side.

Helping The Community: The Dark Side.

When something (or someone) becomes accessible, it tends to lose its value. People either exploit it, or they toss it aside. Or they take it all for granted.

What happens when you give away free services?

My Dad, an ophthalmologist, has always dedicated every Wednesday towards helping the poor. India has a lot of people that can not afford to pay for the basics – we also have a lot of homeless people and no matter how you try to help, this problem doesn’t seem to go away. You can only start small and my Dad has always done his bit. And he still is. So this one day of the week, people that can’t afford to get themselves treated, come over and they get help. It’s usually a long, long day for him and his employees, always has been, but there will always be someone that’ll come over and say, “I need to get complimentary treatment because I know the Doctor personally.” And this usually happens right before lunch break or before we’re trying to close down for the day. And this person is usually always someone that comes from means.

And my Dad is a good person and always obliges.

My problem with the whole thing is this “intimacy” mixed in with a great deal of audacity that makes people feel like they’re allowed to walk in at any time of day, and demand for things, even though they can afford it. And a hundred percent of the times, they’re someone my Dad has met like once, in passing. How do you deny someone when they’re being so free treatment about it? You can’t. And India is HUGE on the whole making “everyone their relative” thing. So everyone you meet is your uncle or auntie or brother or sister. There’s no concept of Sir or Ma’am. It’s always Dada, Didi, Chacha, Chachi, the whole nine yards. This is also one of the reasons why Indian weddings are so big. The list of fake relatives is endless.

Okay.

I’m probably being hypocritical at this point because my ex happened to spend a lot of money on gifts to me and I’ve taken them. I shouldn’t have, I know, but it felt nice to be pampered. And unfortunately, me giving away all of whatever was gifted to me won’t help me or the image this person has of me anyway, and it won’t even dissipate the hatred he’s got towards me but I’m trying to be a good person. At least, I’m trying to be a better person anyway. And this was one of the many reasons why I started teaching kids English three days a week.

I don’t charge any money and I also provide them with stationery and I do everything I can to help. But here’s the thing:

I feel like nobody really ever meets you halfway. Like I said earlier, when you give away something for free, people don’t value it. My problem with this whole thing is that I genuinely love to teach. I love to introduce these kids to new authors whenever I can. Because, books are amazing and there’s no end to the whole exploring journey, right? But how am I supposed to instill this whole love of books into these guys if they constantly miss my classes? They all have access to cell phones or some means of communication, and they never call or inform me via text that they’re not going to be turning up. And I cancel everything and prep my lessons and I wait like a dumb fool and the evening passes and they’re a no-show.

The funniest bit here is that it’s always the parents of my students that have approached me to help their kids. And I’m not someone that would ever say no because, I do genuinely love to teach. For the umpteenth time. The rules are simple. There’s only one rule: if you want it, be ready to accept it. You can’t expect someone to force-feed you if you don’t want to learn. And then nobody blames the students really, it’s always the teacher’s fault. It’s so easy to overlook the fact that the teacher tries hard to be sincere but the students don’t want to be taught. And you can’t refuse lessons because it’ll make you look like the bad guy when it’s not even your fault to begin with.

It’s just that sometimes I feel like maybe they would have taken me a lot more seriously if they were actually paying me. Maybe my time and my efforts and my energy would have meant a little more to them then. Not that I care about money, it’s just that a little show of appreciation would have been enough. I don’t want to be someone they’re doing favors for.

The same thing happens when you sponsor a kid’s education. Most of the times, they’re never happy or they never say thank you. It’s the lack of gratefulness that bites the most. How difficult is that? Which brings me to the next leg of my article:

“LOG KYA KAHENGE?”

One of the WORST things about living in India is becoming the subject of gossip. Log kya kahenge or “Yikes, what will people say” is something that’s solidly and steadfastly prevented every Indian, at some point, from doing something they would’ve gone ahead and accomplished had it not been for the society. Or the community.

• You cannot charge money if you’re teaching your colleague’s child. Or babysitting a neighbor’s son three days a week. You cannot.

• You cannot NOT invite your mum’s best friend’s aunt to your wedding.

• You cannot have an opinion that differs from theirs because tauba tauba, are you mental?

And the list goes on.

Also, since it’s World Environment Day today, it doesn’t make you an environmentalist to suddenly go plant a sapling and water it while posing for the Gram, when you’re going to leave the poor little guy lying around, like meh. Please do it if you’re feeling it. And if you’re feeling it alone.

Peace.

#TBT – Med School Crushes, Chapter 4: The Last Leg

#TBT – Med School Crushes, Chapter 4: The Last Leg

India is in a state of reckless frenzy tonight. Everyone is glued to their TV screens, some happy, some upset, some seething, some stunned. In another part of the world, a friend is graduating. That’s happy news. Right? I cannot bring myself to post something that’s preachy or opinionated – at least not today – which is why, I’m going to talk about the last leg of my med-school crush saga.

I actually have two stories to share. I know I could have done a five-part series but I wanted to combine both the stories I’m going to tell you today. Both incidents (for the lack of a better word) happened within a couple months of each other, and both were hilarious and the said crushes were super aware so we have ZERO secrets here. And, well, here goes nothing.

I was an intern, and I was very much in a committed relationship, which literally means that I was probably cheating. But a friend told me it was okay to crush on people and that it was okay to update the crush list on the daily provided you weren’t actually cheating on your man. Look but don’t touch. Window shop but don’t make any purchases. You already have a man, remember that. So yes. There they were. Super healthy, super innocent crush saga, parts four and five.

The first time I went for my surgery rotation, I was the only intern for the first two weeks. The residents were nice and friendly. Both my residents never hesitated to help out when I was stuck with a problem. So it was all fun and games. And then another resident came along. He was kinda tiny, but jeez, he was hella cute. Not like a beautiful Roman God kind of cute, just happened to be somebody with a mega cute personality. I think I was crushing more on his whole vibe than him, the actual person. Let’s call him Scrubs. He was scruffy, but he looked nice with that kinda stubble and always talked about fitness. I was just getting into it and became super intrigued. MY resident was best friends with Scrubs and found out about my little crush one day. And he snickered evilly and decided to go rat me out. At this point, we had more interns join us and it was all a happy doctor party. BUT, everyone would tease me all the time. And at some point I literally un-crushed. This one ended really well, though . We became friends. And I don’t feel awkward, so hallelujah.

The last ever crush of my life, apart from my own man, would have to be this orthopedic resident we shall call The Hulk. He was a super nice dude. Super well-behaved and I had this HUGE crush on his wardrobe. Seriously, I kid you not, but I’ve never seen doctors that dress half as good. And his muscles – they were so phenomenal, and rippling, you’d need RM Drake on speed dial because those things need poetry. And background hoedown music. Billy Ray, give me a call, please? Thank you.

Guys, this is a well-known observation – a man that looks and smells good is someone that is always going to get those brownie points. Hash, and regular. Both. With icing, with whipped cream, with chocolate syrup, with ice-cream – you name it. All of it. All the brownie points and the add-ons. This guy deserves all those freaking praise-calories. Yes sir. This was something that again, ended really well because orthopedic surgeons are people I need to stay in touch with at all times (I’m a walking catastrophe) and the guy has become a friend to me.

That concludes my epic med school crush series. Thank you for sticking with me, and reading and laughing along with me. I had a ton of fun telling you about all of it. And if my man is reading this – baby, you know I love you best. And your biceps are going to have amazing music as background score done by maybe The Weeknd and poetry written by Sherman Alexie. Don’t be mad and don’t share this post with my darling momma or my momma in law. Bye.

WTF Wednesday: STOP Doing That!

WTF Wednesday: STOP Doing That!

• You stalk someone on Twitter. You find what they’re up to, you don’t like what they’re doing, and you subtweet. Don’t. It doesn’t concern you, and you need to keep your opinions to yourself. Remember the Gurgaon incident? It didn’t fly well.

• You see a cute person of the opposite gender, you decide to slide into their DMs. You send in a human eggplant or a cooch or a titty photo. Don’t do that. Many people are now immune to the charms of the naked human body, because they’ve seen FAR too much already. It’s all out there for the world to see. Sometimes, being shrouded in mystery helps. Now I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to make a child with someone, it’s just wrong to force it on them. Don’t. Stay classy, how hard is that?

• You see a woman with a rather revealing bikini on, don’t leave hate comments. Don’t. If you’ve got nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all.

• Don’t bash your ex. Don’t bash your ex online. Or offline. Or to your new girl/boyfriend. That ish gets tiring and offensive and kind of headache-inducing after a while. Trust me on that. Grandma knows best.

• Lastly, what’s with your embarrassing IG TV videos? Nobody wants to die of tympanic membrane rupture and cerebral hemorrhage that your painfully inaccurate tips give people. You wanna post videos, do your research. Simple.

Happy hump day, folks.

Xenomania

Xenomania

Everyday, she would check her bank balance to see if the numbers were growing and if she’d made enough.

She would tell herself all the time that at twenty seven, she was too much of a free-spirited woman to be tied down to one spot, and everyday, her boss would remind her that she wasn’t. That she needed this cubicle and this job and the money. And she bore it all, with a tight-lipped smile.

She sighed as she looked at the list of Airbnb’s she’d favorited, and told herself she would one day, eventually, see the Pink City. And the rest of India. She’d been obsessed with the country, the customs, the lifestyles, the food, for as long as she could remember.

And one day it happened.

A million hour long flight, and a million layovers and a mile long line later, she finally took an Uber to get to her destination. She didn’t even make it halfway, she didn’t get to leave the capital.

The last thing she remembered was the knife, and she felt a lot of pain, and she remembered thinking how xenomania had eventually managed to kill her spirit after all.

Quest

Quest

Hey guys. I hope you’ve been liking the posts I’ve been doing these days – the A to Z challenge is a toughie, not going to lie. But isn’t that what motivates you to keep writing?

I made a post back in the day about why I choose to write creepy content. I’d mentioned that I don’t like to be the regular, and I still don’t. Still going to say that I don’t like my characters clean or nasty – I prefer them to be a good mix of both. I like spectrums. I adore deviations. Blogging has been such a journey – from doing rants to fashion to makeup and now dark fiction, the genre keeps changing. And I love that. I live for that. It’ll keep changing till I find what fits me best.

This has been a quest. Pretty much how everything in my life has been.

I wanted to be a journalist when I was young, but I was fueled by this need to prove to people that I could go to med school and become a doctor. Halfway though pharmacology, I lost interest when they maimed rabbits – not really maimed but we did cut off their lashes – and the whole thing left a bitter taste in my mouth. Once you lose interest, you start to fail. I’ve failed academically but I managed to graduate and to work happily. For a while, I loved it. And then I rediscovered my love for art, lost interest in that when internship got crazy and here we are – floating, always floating. Some of us choose to go against the current, some of us go with it, but we’re all constantly on the move and we’re on the mend and we’re constantly finding something and we’re constantly evolving. And working towards a something that’s actually solid.

Someone complained to me that my writing was getting way too dark now, but that’s fine. It’s not like this genre is going to stick around forever, you know? Maybe someday, I’ll be doing historical fiction and turning into a Diana Gabaldon minus the meaty content. Ahahaha. Sometimes I don’t even know where I come up with stuff like this.

Anyway, I was just wondering – how did you pick the genre of your blog? Do you have a specific theme you stick to?

Closure.

Closure.

She looks at her phone, wondering if he’ll ever come home. It’s becoming a routine now. Six AM morning runs, the detox tea, the office hours, the gym. The desperation, the obsession with making him stay, has taken over her whole life and she doesn’t even know who she is anymore.

She’s almost twenty five, and she’s brilliant. She’s got free advice and she’s got a million. Neither of which helps her anyway. He wasn’t ever meant to stay. He was meant to go away, and go away he did. Today was just another day. Why, oh why, did she fall in love, why oh why, did she fall apart, why did she let herself go astray – all these questions burn into the back of her head.

Three days, and there’s been no contact.

A month goes by, still no change.

He’s missing, it’s like he never existed. His Insta and his Twitter, his Snapchat, the selfies with those filters – all seem fictional to her these days.

And then he resurfaces, New Girl on his arm. He doesn’t bother to break up, he just moves on. Ferrari and Dior Homme, sunset in Malibu, New Girl in his arms. Doesn’t matter if she’s a gold digger, she’s got the body. Doesn’t matter her heart seems empty, doesn’t matter because they’re both drunk on their vanity.

Doesn’t matter he managed to break a young woman’s heart – doesn’t matter it was with her best friend, doesn’t matter how many wedges drove these girls apart, doesn’t matter, none of that matters. She closes her eyes and the tears fall. She’s numb, she never wanted the money, she never wanted it all.

Funny how the only thing you want is the only thing that’s denied you – funny how closure is the hardest thing to give to your girl.