Reminiscence

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it’s funny how it’s the little things that remind me of it. like the chill of the August rain pitter-pattering on my naked feet at the doorstep. like the taste of strawberry cream on the tip of my tongue. like the little spots of red, yellow and green in the darkness as i close my eyes against the sunlight.

it’s funny how the memories resurface out of nowhere. like an uninvited black cloud suddenly overshadowing a bright day. like an inescapable reality casting a darkness upon every soul that toils under it. so unlike the calm shade of a cheerful, happy reminiscence. so unlike the happy nostalgia of a gentle, radiant day

it’s funny how some words stay with us forever. and every song we ever hear is like an echo. an echo of those same old syllables we fail to forget. a long lost prophecy foretelling our destructive destiny. like a happy high note melting into a melancholic low lullaby.

it’s funny how before and after works. how easy it seems to conjure up dead realities and yet how impossible it seems to ever be able to touch them again. how easy it is to remember and how impossible to forget. how easy it is to wish it wasn’t real and how impossible to realise how real it really is.

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Ceaseless

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You know those things that have no beginning or end? That you imagine to be an intricately threaded yet chaotic web of destinies and fates surrounding the universe, your universe? Those things that appear to be nothing and everything, all at the same time?

That’s how I look at you and me.

Was there ever any love between us? Here? In my head? In another world? Because sometimes when I think about you, waves upon waves of a warm feeling washes over me. Like an overwhelming sea grasping my arms with reckless abandon and then soothing my frenzied skin with it’s surprisingly gentle touch, lapping over my fingers and toes, filling my pores with all the calm of the ocean. But then, just a moment later, the water recedes and you fall away with it, leaving just as unexpectedly as you’d swept into my life, like a mirage I struggle to hold onto, running my lost fingers through the wet, disorienting sand. It sticks to me, that sand, and refuses to let go. It numbs my fingers and reminds me of the absence of your calming ripples. And just when I give up hope of ever meeting with you again, you swell forth and drown me under a tsunami of feelings.

And yet I question if it’s really love. Or ever was.

How can I say I fell in love, when I never really met you? When I knew you long before I knew myself? When I can never pinpoint a day, an hour, a second in my life and yours when I fell for you?

This warmth in my heart, rising up in my chest and bursting out of my heart, it’s always been there. A lifelong companion to my uneven breath. Not a ‘falling in love’, absolutely not. That’s supposed to be much more, isn’t it? That’s supposed to begin somewhere. On some long, laughter-filled summer night, under our blanket of silly stories; in a hot cup of coffee, shared, like in a classic teen movie; in a song danced to in the rain, drenched in new sensations and unspoken confessions; that’s how we’re supposed to fall in love.

But we never did.

Then why do I circle back to you every time, like a frustrated traveller who’s lost his way? Why does the warmth never leave my veins, no matter how far behind you leave me? Why do my hands always search for yours in a dark room? Why do I still long for the waves?

You know those things that have no beginning and no end?

That’s you and I. And our ceaseless story of unlove and waves.

Ruminating ‘Raazi’

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It is rare for a film that begins with dramatic, patriotic dialogue to end on a realistic note that truly questions war instead of glorifying it. Raazi accomplishes not just this commendable feat but also chooses to do so by portraying raw, personal turmoil instead of gruesome, action-packed violence.

The focus of the film initially appears to be on an individual’s duty to his/her country and the honour embedded in this duty. But slowly and gradually, the story unravels the ethical dilemma of the conflict of war:

Is the fight for peace really worth it when the very process to achieve it causes the complete opposite; when, to protect the majority, a few individuals are subjected to the very worst of trauma and suffering?

Yuval Noah Harari, in his book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, explains the concept of imagined realities which Raazi very poignantly yet subtly portrays. Imagined realities are ‘common myths that exist only in people’s collective imagination’. A ‘nation‘ is an imagined reality – a notion based on invisible, manmade borders – and so is ‘family‘ – nothing more than an alliance of humans who share some DNA and consequently, some resources. It’s a gross oversimplication without the emotional context, isn’t it?

Emotion is where things start to get complicated and that is exactly what Raazi expertly uses to paint a picture of the conflict between nation and family – a conflict of imagined realities. To whom does Sehmat truly owe her loyalty – her motherland or her husband’s family? Her father’s legacy of honour or her own conscience?

A terrible moral dilemma, all in the name of patriotism, transforms a young, innocent girl into committing murders and becoming an agent in the death and grief of others, including her own in-laws, some of whom were simply innocent bystanders. Their suffering is a screaming testimony of the harshest truth: every person is a victim in war. The enemy is not a monster – just someone with a different viewpoint who suffers equally. There is no real winner.

Raazi‘s message is the irony of war – that the very structures that are supposed to provide us with peace, security and efficiency tear apart our lives to ensure their own survival. Sehmat’s screams of anguish are the voice of every war victim’s question: What was it really worth?

Growing Up

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I want to be five years old again. Back when colours were just colours and not reminders of people I once used to know. When happiness came in tiny, brightly-coloured packets of shiny candy and wasn’t accompanied with bitter memories that turned my tongue sour. When love was the toys I shared with my friends and not an elusive firefly I could never catch, glowing dimmer and dimmer the closer I got to it.

I want to be eight years old again. Back when games were just games, innocent fun to pass a lazy summer day and this deadly hide-and-seek life now plays with me was still in the future, far away. When my fingers were still learning to grip my pen with ease and not ripping apart notebooks filled with words from a past me. When songs were sung in high, exulted notes and not a voice near breaking for the fifth time today.

I want to be fifteen years old again. Back when breathing was something I did without a thought and didn’t have to think twice about laughing too hard. When a door was just a door with exciting adventures behind it and not a door with monsters lurking in the corners beside it. When life was a road I was yearning to walk, my eyes blissfully oblivious of the weeds that grew further down the path.

I don’t want to be twenty years old yet. I still have to call the people I think of when my eyes catch a certain shade of yellow. I still have to thank everyone who bought me candy when I was eleven. I still need to chase that firefly and seek the future. I still have to tape together the ripped notebooks, still need to try singing that song again because I’m positive, this time I can do it. I still need to catch my breath just so I can laugh some more. Still have to try the knob of every door. And when I’m done with all of that, I still need to put on a new pair of shoes and dance my way through all those weeds that lurk down the paths I choose.

Threat

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It’s a vicious cycle. This endless cycle of disappointment.

You say words I never expected you to, words that sting like a mother. Then I defy you in those open acts of rebellion that are the shining feature of my personality. Stubborn. Irrational. Self-destructive.

It makes you glare at me, my defiance. I can feel the heat of your anger rolling off your skin. Your compulsive need to tame me making your hands itch. I can see your fingers twitching. I can feel the red spots in your vision.

And that is when your hand rises. The end of the power struggle. Your victory over me. Brute strength always wins this battle. Especially when I am right.

You are in control. And you leave no opportunity to remind me of that.

But that is not where the story ends. Because the wounds you inflict on me are the signs of your real failure. Your failure as a man. They are the evidence of how wrong you are.

One day, I shall parade them. One day, when you’ve ruined me enough for nakedness to not bother me anymore, I will parade them. One day, you’ll feel my shame. One day, you’ll see disappointment and hate in their eyes too, like I saw in yours.

My bruises might be hidden for now, protecting you awhile, but one day, the bloody gashes inside my head will give me the ink to write out your doom.

 

 

Image Credit: https://agnes-cecile.deviantart.com/art/are-scars-on-body-217843735

Worm

 

It slithers

Inside my brain –

Creeping around,

Inside out,

Making it’s way

Between all

The dead,

All the decay.

It crawls

Through the labyrinth,

Suckling on

The dirt,

Feasting on all

The grime,

The dust

Of my sins.

It slinks

Amongst the ruins,

Trailing around

My pain,

Goading me on,

Mocking me

For my filthy,

Uncouth offence.

~Diksha

Tit-for-tat

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The fire

In my soul

Refuses to subside;

My need

To murder – I can

No longer hide.

The day

You touched me

A part of me died;

And a bit more

When I saw

How you’d lied.

Now sit back

And enjoy

The bloody ride,

For now

It’s my turn

To break your pride.

~Diksha

The Devil’s Plaything

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Breathless, I strain

Against the pull of the puppet string –

Trapped, encaged

In the confines of the circus ring.

Like a demonic sadist,

You torture me like a mere plaything.

From one crazy height

To another of insanity you swing.

Flirting with madness,

You revel in your lunatic fling;

Forcing me on the tightrope,

You laugh at how I struggle to cling.

You pull at me harder

Just to relish in how my screams sing,

For I am your puppet

And you, insanity’s best circus king.

~Diksha

 

Image source: https://in.pinterest.com/pin/485262928576155289/

The Erring (Wo)Man

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Each of man’s quarrels –

The woman’s fault:

An ageless blame game

That he would not halt.

Battle and bloodshed –

The woman’s fault;

At every turn of the road,

Her honour suffers assault.

Man’s fall from grace –

The woman’s fault;

Of his own superiority

Must fickle man always exalt?

~Diksha

A Long Day

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Like clockwork,

I wake at four each night

And lay there, gasping,

Waiting

For that first ray of sunlight.

 

Tired, fatigued,

I slowly rise

To look in the mirror

And tell myself,

It’s going to be all right.

 

I labour through

Another day;

Try harder

And harder still,

Determined, obstinate,

Full of spite,

Refusing to give up

Without a fight.

 

As the evening

Grows darker

And my limbs

Grow weaker

And my heart drowns again

Under waves of fright,

The chances

Grow slimmer

Of even a brief respite.

 

For the day is drawing

To another close

And the moon is rising

To another height

And my hopes of escaping

The darkness in my soul

Are slowly becoming

More and more slight.

 

Now, once again,

I must return to my bed;

Now, once again,

I must face my nightmares;

Now, once again,

I must hope that I win

And be freed

From this eternal plight.

~Diksha