On Broken Souls and Olive Branches

On Broken Souls and Olive Branches

I’ve been told I don’t try hard enough

I’ve been told it’s my fault things go wrong

They said I was weird and unfixable, with a sad little laugh

They said I don’t know what it takes at all

I’ve been told the problem lies in me

I’ve been told I’m no good

And I whole heartedly agree, because honestly

A year went by and I achieved nothing

It’s hard to find someone who gets it

Someone who feels what you feel

They might try on your shoes but they won’t fit

As comfortably as they seem to fit you

No matter how many olive branches you extend

Someone needs to be receptive there too

Broken people and broken relationships don’t mend

Not one their own, they need a lot of help too

I’m an introvert when it comes to feelings

That won’t ever change

I wish I could stay in my bubble and find some meaning

Meanwhile I’d let my ramblings comfort me in my head

It’s a new year but nothing feels different to me

I feel detached like I’ve always been

Broken people don’t heal themselves, you see

What’s worse, I feel like I’d never find my clarity

The Color of Blood.

The Color of Blood.

It has to be, they say

It’s that time of the month,

Throwing harsh words and curse words

Her way, all day, everyday

She says nothing, just lets tears fall

And a storm rages on in her head

She thought he’d understand at least

He doesn’t, and she wishes she were dead

Unsolicited advice comes her way:

“Have children, before it’s too late.”

“Have children, doesn’t matter if you’re not into it.”

“If you don’t want them, God curse your fate.”

She feels like a package

That everyone’s dying to unwrap

She feels suffocated

Every harsh word is like a slap

They don’t let her bleed in peace

The color of blood it repels them, you see

She’s just a walking uterus

Meant to carry kids, isn’t that how it was supposed to be?

She’s not a woman if she doesn’t want kids

She’s not normal if she wants to be

She’s shallow if she wants to be happy

She sits in the corner, with the color of blood for company

And they shake their heads and click tongues

She’s failed the generation once more

He could have done better, they think

And for once, she couldn’t agree more.

Resentment.

Resentment.

I don’t know why I married this thing in my bed. She doesn’t have brains. Doesn’t have the looks either. Doesn’t make money. Has a voice louder than those drills going in my neighbor’s backyard. I look over at the sleeping form next to me; chameleon-eyes open like she’s always watching me. She has these big eyes I used to find beautiful and luminous once but now, all they do is follow me around, grotesquely.

I am a henpecked husband.

I cannot even remember how long I have been married to Her. It disgusts me to even say the name. to think that I wanted a home and a child, or maybe two, with Her, one day. She’s not who I married and she has completely changed. Recession hit and she – very voluntarily and very comfortably – pulled off her socks and curled up permanently on the couch, just watching and being a pain in my neck. She acts like she’s doing me a favor when she gets me breakfast in bed. She lords it over me when she’s folding and putting away piles of my laundry. I’ve never asked her to do any of it, but she acts like she has this chip on her ugly, hunched and emaciated shoulder and uses it against me at every opportunity. I hate being stuck with her indoors all day. Fucking Corona. It had to happen now, now when I was on the verge of going on this business trip to Amsterdam alone. Now, when I’d have a few peaceful days all to myself.

She makes unnecessary commentary when I talk to my friends on the phone. She tells them not to call on the weekends – her voice shrill in the background, making me feel like I would bleed from my ears – saying she wants me to herself and she tries to sabotage my two-decade long friendship with my best friend. We had a go at each other the other day. The rabid cunt thinks I would let her treat me this way, does she? She thinks I don’t deserve her, and she’s right because no one does. Stupid, freaking, crazy bitch. How I wish I could turn back time and ensure this marriage had never happened.

I don’t even remember taking a pillow and stifling her till her writhing body goes still and her silent screams fade away to silence, blissful silence.

An Essay on Mental Health.

An Essay on Mental Health.

Two celebrities took their own lives within one week of each other. One, a talented Bollywood actor. The other, his former manager.

Sushant Singh Rajput was only thirty-four when he committed suicide by hanging. There was no note. Indian media being the Indian media, the family was harassed and photos, circulated. Photos that showed the poor soul lying supine on the bed, ligature marks around his neck. And people kept forwarding those images on social media without showing any respect for the deceased or his grieving family. There were no trigger warnings, either. It shocked me to see how people here lack respect, empathy and common sense. As more details surfaced and as more people shared what they knew about the situation, a couple of major issues came to light. Depression, and the fact that since the Indian film industry only survives on the ‘product of nepotism’, Sushant had also been left feeling unacknowledged. He’d made it to Bollywood without a Godfather to push him, and he was finding it hard to stay afloat. In a conversation with a fan on social media, he confessed that he would be kicked out of the industry if his movie didn’t do well.

While the rest of B-town shared posts on social media talking about how they should’ve been there and been more accepting, keyboard warriors started sending hate to top-tier actors. Case in point: Alia Bhatt getting bullied for her post on Sushant. Kangana Ranaut, another self-made actor, getting way too much hate for speaking up about Sushant’s mysterious suicide. And this is exactly how the cycle never ends. Trolls find someone to bully and sometimes, even the strongest of minds breaks down. And goes places where it’s hard to recover from. And it’s not just celebrities or prominent people that face mental health issues, it’s shockingly sad to see that it’s a thing in every Indian home. A thing most families choose to ignore. A thing many believe – TO THIS DAY – that it’s not an issue at all and can be chased away with a proper beating. Not only is that child abuse, it also worsens the child’s state of mind.

As a Bengali Indian, and now a married woman, I’ve faced my share of bullying, I’ve been pressured into doing something I didn’t want to, made fun of for having clinical depression, been doused with buckets of unsolicited advice, been body-shamed and at the same time, never been taken seriously when I needed to talk to someone. And it pains me to say that many others I know go through some form of mental health problems and are dismissed for wanting to talk about it. In (Bengali) households, fifteen-year-olds are mocked at for being low on energy or having enough courage to say that they’ve been feeling depressed. Many are ridiculed for wanting to choose to study something they find interesting. God forbid should you want to become a photographer or a makeup artist. God forbid if you’re not doing well in med-school. While in others, children are made fun of for being “weepy and dead inside” all the time. They’re dismissed if they’re not interested in the same things their parents like. As they grow older and get married, they’re bombarded with questions about when they’d be gaining or losing some weight or when they’d be making babies, despite being fairly new to the whole “being married” scene. No one asks you what you want or if you’re doing okay. No one checks in on you when you’re struggling to reach out. Some people only want you to be happy while putting pressure on you that if you’re not happy, you’d be henpecked into doing what they want because that’s how the world works. People are in fact so quick to judge that all you’re going to end up getting is a bunch of ridiculous statements ranging from “Get over it” to “You’re just thinking you’re depressed. It doesn’t happen that way. No go do the done thing.”

And all of this is normal. That’s what we’ve all grown up facing and are still facing today.

People are so educated but there is serious lacunae in our understanding of mental health and how important it is for a healthy living. And it’s often the people that post about how they wish they’d been there for someone, are the people that spew the most hate. No one actually likes to listen. And that’s the major issue here. We don’t have good listeners around us. Everyone likes the sound of their own voices too much to ever give someone else a chance to speak. And that’s how we start feeling lonely despite being part of a proper unit. And that’s how we start breaking down. Despite all the “education”, we still consider things like pansexuality or depression as something that should be kept under wraps only.

What if the neighbors or the relatives find out? We’ll be so embarrassed!

Why’s any of this taboo when it’s actually out there affecting people badly enough to make them want to take their own lives? And we know that with the quarantine very much in place, it gets hard to keep a brave front all the time. And we need to learn that it’s okay to let do and to have a breakdown or two. But it’s not okay to not have anyone to reach out. Therapists are there for a reason and there is nothing to be ashamed of.

It’s time we learned to be more accepting, more vigilant and more aware. The time for passing crude judgment has now passed. If we want to live healthy, we’ve got to focus on our mental health first and quit treating it as something that can be shoved under the rug and forgotten. And just saying that we need to do something isn’t enough. It’s time all of us actually DID something about it. It’s June 2020 – so if not now, then when?

Unchained Emotions

Unchained Emotions

Don’t post this, don’t say that

Pretend you’re something you’re not

Act cold, act happy when you’re sad

Act excited even when you rot

Don’t be yourself, they said

Be someone else completely

Someone not so messed in the head

I say ok, and I nod my head weakly

Haven’t been happy in months now

But I can’t talk about it

It has to be hidden away somehow

So no one knows about it

Made to feel like a dirty secret

Almost like it were wrong to be me

Like I’m supposed to have no identity

And I’m supposed to be unseen

Alone and secluded for weeks

Abandoned, and forgotten almost

No one asks if you ate or if you’ve healed

I’m struggling to barely stay afloat

This isn’t a cakewalk

Not like I thought it would be

There’s no champion, and no rock

No one seems to let my headspace be

Either you’ve to post grad

Or make progeny

There’s just this or that, really

With no options in between

Sometimes I wonder would things

Have been different if I’d switched rooms

I lie awake and the doorbell rings

Bringing in yet another day of doom.

The Problem With Being Me

The Problem With Being Me

It hurts to exist

It hurts to kind of not

There’s no way to fix things

And yet, you can’t let them rot

I post a story

You have stuff to say

Most days you’re concerned, genuinely

But today’s not the day

I’m meant to be happy

To smile and to glow

I’m in love, you see

And it’s supposed to show

The problem with being me

Is that I feel way too much

I want to blend in

I want to vanish at a touch

50 Word Story: The Comment

50 Word Story: The Comment

She uploaded a story. The caption said, “Working out,eating right, do we see results or nah?”

He responded, “Um, zero difference, still the same fat glob you used to be.”

Something broke inside her, she scooped out a huge chunk off her thigh with a meat knife.

Existential Crisis

Existential Crisis

When the lights are out

When everyone else is fast asleep

Dreaming happy dreams

With happy memories to keep

I lie awake

Contemplating things, scary things

In real life I pretend I’m okay

But on the inside, I’m deeply unhinged

I’ve got it all, I know

People say they’d be happy if they were me

They’re not missing much

There’s only disappointment and misery

Sometimes I hate myself

The way I look, the way I am

The way I let other people freeload

Like it’s normal, like it’s okay, like it’s my jam

Knowing full well that I stand alone

That there’s nobody that’s gonna rush in

To help me out when I’m in need

Sometimes breathing is a sin

Everyone else’s world has color

Mine has all shades of gloom

I try, I fail, I get up, I stumble, I crash

And I feel empty even in a crowded room

Dear Cheat Day

Dear Cheat Day

I’m pretty consistent with my diet, and I haven’t had sugar in almost two years. That being said, I do give myself a cheat day – every Sunday – so my body can chill for a while.

I don’t eat sugar on cheat days, because I don’t want to overdo things. This used to make me cranky as heck when I first started, eventually getting used to it. BUT, with all that being said, I guess everyone has a breaking point. *insert hysterical laughter here*

Krispy Kreme kiosks need to be made illegal at airports. Even if they have to set up shop, it needs to be as far away from the boarding gates as possible. For someone that the reaches airport and checks in super early because of the impending rush, self-control becomes a ginormous issue.

You haven’t had a donut in two years, I told myself, and you can control this six am craving.

So I passed by the kiosk once. Successfully. Did that a second time. Gave up and got myself a Belgian donut thingy, new on the menu, and the guy actually laughed at me. I think I wolfed it down in a minute. Or even less than. It’s been four hours since I had all that sugar and I’m actually super happy. Reporting zero traces of crankiness on the horizon, viability almost at a hundred percent, we are in for a sunny day in my head, irrespective of the actual weather outside.

The point* I’m trying to make here is:

• It’s okay to have a cheat day, and one tiny cheat meal, as long as you’re doing it in moderation.

Ensure that you don’t deny your body and at the same time, don’t overfeed yourself. Most of us have done that at some point, only to have regretted later.

• Sugar ages you faster, so refrain from too much of it. Only have it if you must. Like I needed the donut after a two year break. It was heaven.

• Hydrate. Apple cider vinegar in water actually kills the attack of the “munchies”, and it’s so effective. Tried and tested.

• Make sure you go back to your normal routine after you’ve cheated. So important.

*points. I realize I just listed out five of those. It’s okay. We all know I cannot resist a good listicle.

Have an amazing start to the week, folks!

When Did The World Get So Overwhelming?

When Did The World Get So Overwhelming?

A friend and I were having this conversation the other day and she said:

“I guess we were all running away from home to bigger places and faster lives and social media attention and now when all of it is ruining us, we are running back to the peace of the little towns and taking a supposed social media detox.

Like why do we even need a break from something which wasn’t even our real lives in the first place?”

She’s a hundred percent correct.

There’s no living space, there’s very little breathable air and no drinkable water. India already has a water crisis going on in a lot of places. And everyone else is just so unaware. Doing things for clout, preaching about feminism that doesn’t feel like feminism anymore and pretending to have chill, happy lives which we should all look up to. Most of us don’t even like our day jobs anymore. In a world where YouTube celebrities and Instagram models are fast becoming role models, where do our moral compasses point to, really?

The thing about the modern world is that you cannot say or do the “right” thing. If you post your opinion online, you’ll get trolled and hated and dragged through the mud for it. You’ll be misinterpreted and misunderstood and nobody will cut you any slack. The world is very accepting, yes that’s true – but it is also very unforgiving at the same time. Everyone is constantly and perpetually triggered and is out for blood. It’s so scary and so overwhelming. And you’ve to think a million times before even posting something as simple as a thoughtful and well-written eyeshadow review, or even a book review dismissing a popular author, because God knows who might get offended. There’s so much going on – Stan culture, cancel culture, pile-on hatred and bigotry – that you don’t even feel remotely safe or comfortable anymore.

And you still go back.

You go back to what hurts you and you want to see what’s going on and it’s like an itch and you keep scratching at it, and you bleed. And you still look at what’s bothering you. Social media addiction is a real thing. And at some level, we’re all afflicted. It’s crazy how we all compare ourselves – both on purpose and subconsciously – to that image of some influencer’s perfect. We choose to flaunt fake stories, we choose to show happy when we’re really NOT. There’s a rise in divorce rates. Cheating incidents. Scandals. People feel so entitled to take what’s already taken, and they don’t stop to think or analyze. There’s a rise in immorality and a serious fall in moral values. And if you dare say anything, you’re just a depressed piece of turd that’s moral policing and has no life. They say, Live and Let Live, And before we could realize it, it’s turned into Die and Let Die, but don’t say anything. It’s twisted, really, when we could be idolizing real people with real stories, but we choose not to give them any importance. The ones actually making a difference only exist in the footnotes of some super obscure magazines. Or they exist as obituaries in newspapers yellowing with age – they were the real influencers. The real feminists. And it’s scary today, to see to how far people calling themselves modern influencers will go, for mere likes and followers, losing themselves in the process.

When did social media become our whole lives?