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I love you, I love you not

Alphabet Soup sets me thinking with,

Relationships are so much like going shopping for clothes.

While The Lady counters that,

They either want you, or they don’t. There is NO in-between.

I’ve been on both sides…the garment and the wearer, so to speak. And I wonder…do some of us simply fall in love with people because they are in love with us? In love with the idea of being in love. As the cliche goes, it is better to settle for someone who loves you than someone you love.

All I can say is…

It is difficult to let go of someone you love.
But its far tougher to let go of someone who loves you.

The first is good for you. The second is good for them.
And when it comes down to it, its always about ME over ANYBODY ELSE.

Self-preservation is an essential survival skill. So long as you are clear whether you want to be the garment or the wearer. Most of us aren’t.

Justice is served

There will always be someone who recognizes you
even if they don’t really know you.

And then there are those who know you but don’t recognize you anymore.

I’ve met so friends in crowds of strangers
that it never occured to me that
a friend I didn’t recognize, could turn stranger.

Mea culpa. Tu quoque.

Countdown To The 28th Day

The weather is sickening.
Outside the sun is scorching the earth
like something from the kitchens of a very bad cook..dark, smelly, sticky.
The sunlight on my face gives me a headache.
Inside, the fan is whipping a breeze across my face too fast.
Slower it offends my ears with its whirring.

I’m sick, going to throw up.
Food is a revolting thought.
As are dusty corners, soaking wet clothes, bathrooms..
Bathroom, I need to make my way to the bathroom.
I heave across, slow-motion in my own eyes
And suddenly comfort is there
In the splashes of red.
The twenty-eighth day.
I mark it with a red cross on my calendar
And turn around with a sigh of relief.

The longest journey is when you don’t know what awaits you in the end
D-day to D-day is just 28 days.
And yet, each of them seems to vary in length.
The first week..what a relief, what a joy!
Waves of perspiration breaking out,
Relief is the sweetest thing of all.
While my body pays for that joy.

As the pains subside,
Its time for resolutions
To be more careful,
To be less willing
To be stronger in my will.
All in good intention.

The days pass and dangers spread thin over them,
Like butter softly melting into bread,
The temptations sink into my being.
Till I slowly break down again
And sink into them.
Feeling my body’s victory over the mind.
Defiant pleasure overruling guilt.

And then, the most difficult phase begins.
The waiting, the wondering, the secret misgivings.
A million “Why did I?”s and “How could you?”s
For every hundred or so, one fight.
For every fight a hundred or so sorrys.

I’m frowning more and more each day.
Then one day tears roll down.
Then the weather starts to sicken.
And I wait and wonder if it is close to D-day again.

The Modern Woman


My diwali rangoli – inspired by the cover on diwali malar

The modern woman is realizing why men have been workaholics and absent parents all these years.
The modern woman is grappling with the Catch-22 of being equal and wanting to look up to someone.

The modern woman is torn between the age-old power of her sexuality and the new-found one accorded to her gender.
The modern woman loves the idea of a credit card in her name but hates the bill that is also in her name..

The modern woman would want it all if only she could find place for it in her handbag.
The modern woman wonders, if she has the best of all worlds, what’s left to want?

The modern woman is proud of her moodiness, her ruthlessness, her ambition, her aggressiveness in bed, but not of her independence (though she’d like to think so).
The modern woman could challenge your masculinity; she could also rule with her femininity
She does both alternatively and tires of both games.

The modern woman can rationalize, intellectualize, visualize but secretly wonders what happened to plain old thinking and feeling.
The modern woman is privileged and tough and frustrated and bored and high on a combination of vodka, estrogen and aspirin.

The modern woman thinks someone should write new fairy tales.
The modern woman will start to write one, only it will turn out as a journal of her life which will become a management bestseller (whose royalties she’ll collect and hate the fame for its apt hypocrisy)

The modern woman sympathizes with her male peers and pities her colleagues and ex-boyfriends, ALMOST. She’s a woman still.
The modern woman fights for woman power as a concept and hates her clan – she hasn’t changed all that much.

The modern woman hates being vulnerable but she also wonders what’s left of her femininity after even that goes.
The modern woman is taken for a ride by the new-age sensitive man and ponders the phrase ‘role reversal’.

The modern woman wears sneakers, unisex perfumes, toned biceps and her hair short, simply because there isn’t a damn thing the men can do about it.
The modern woman occasionally wears sandals and scarves and both hates and revels in the grateful, obsequious compliments that they get.

The modern woman is either a ruthless bitch or an overwhelming earth-mother or both…even she doesn’t know.
The modern woman is driving the world forward and its driving her crazy.

The modern woman made the above rangoli to personify all that she yearns to be but will never aspire to be – innocence, subservience.
The modern woman will still proudly display her confusion as a sign of her boldness as this one has done.

The modern woman is going down the road to insanity and dragging the world with her.

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A later version is posted here.

Goddess

I drag reluctant feet through a day that seems too long
I trudge through the slime of bad moods and depression to the little islands of intelligence and coherent thought
I fidget uncomfortably in the chair and remember too late that I’m wearing white
I dodge nausea, hot flashes and giddiness with the armour of a painted face and a perfect coiffure
And I suppress the impulse to show the jeering crowd in the truck just what I think of their admiration.

I am bewildered by the sudden surge of joy
I surrender to a wave of hysterical laughter
Then I cover it up with a sarcastic remark
And frown to pull back the sheet of dignity over my exposed lunacy
After all, womanhood is in celebration this week.

I listen with a compassion I know I don’t normally feel….or allow myself to.
I ignore the nagging voice of “I’m tired” and clamp down on the “I hate the world”
I throw out the dinner and then sneak back at 2 a.m. for a bar of chocolate and a banana
And as I lie down, I feel a thousand flame-tipped arrows pricking my skin
Outside my window, the drums are beating out an ode to the glory of womanhood

I close my eyes and sigh
Hello to my monthly visitor
Damn the pedestals…
If this is what being a goddess is, the world can keep its glory.

Tumhari baatein

Tumne kaha aur maine sun liya
Tum bolte gaye, main sunti gayi
Tum barse, mere labon se ek shabh bhi na nikla
Bas khadi rahi, chupchap, sunti rahi

Ab jaa rahe ho, main nahin rokoongi
Tumhari har baat ko apne seene se lipat kar rakhoongi
Ussi tarah jaise tumhare har baat ko maine sambhala hai
Tumhara hona…is sansar mein, is zindagi mein, mere pass, mujhse door
Tumhara tadapna, tumhara rona
Tumhara aana aur tumhara jaana

Kyonki tum phir bologe
Tumhe zindagi se phir taqleef hogi
Aur tum mere hi pass phir aaoge

Tab main yaad karoongi
Tumhari yeh baatein..har ek woh baat
Jisse maine mehsoos kiya,
Jisse maine apne andheron ko dekha
Jisne mujhe rulaya

Aur mein tab bhi kuch nahin kahoongi
Bas chupchap khadi, sunti rahoongi
Aur yaad karoongi
Ke yeh baatein pehle bhi hui thi
Aur phir hongi

Superwoman

I am the only kid on the tree in pigtails
I am rejection & peer pressure superimposed on intelligence & expectations
I am the daughter who will one day be the ‘man of the house’

I am the big attitude-no boyfriends Alanis Morisette of the peer group
I am the feminist preaching to ‘the boys’ in between hanging out with them.
I am the second lead in an ‘all-male’ rock band.

I am the token female candidate in a job selection group discussion
I am one of two women at a client meeting, six months later
I am the slender figure balancing a laptop, files and a mobile phone and refusing a seat on the bus.

I am a solitary memo marked “Dear Madam” atop of a pile of “Dear Sir” notes
I am one who knows which detergent brand sells highest but not which cleans best
I am a woman who hates cooking and is proud of the fact

I am the one publications write about when they describe the new work ethic
I am the inspiration for a new wave of soap operas and talk shows
I am the author of a scathing article on fairness creams

I am the center of a marketing model titled “High income single decision maker”
I am the brief given to fashion houses when they design the new Prada suit
I am described as ‘Joan of Arc meets Helen of Troy’

I am a social butterfly, the party animal, the cool lady who always leaves alone
I am a modern day Cinderella looking for a perfect foot to fit her shoe…and none ever do
I am the last of my friends to get married but mine is the grandest wedding of all

I am an overflowing inbox of memos, bills and ads after my 2-day honeymoon
I am the ‘expert cook in 10 days’ since I am always the best
I am the 5 am alarm for the milkman, the 10 am board meeting, the working lunch and the home cooked gourmet dinner on my first anniversary

I am a romantic SMS keyed in surreptitiously at a meeting
I am two daily planners to be co-ordinated for any family function
I am performance anxiety, loneliness, guilt, fear and ambition all masquerading as PMS

I am the ‘equal half’ of a DINK
I am the face that receives a slap for being better
And only sometimes, am I the fist that hits back

I am the luggage with a tag from every single metro in the world
I am the signature on the exclusive gold card
I am a posh address that is more a museum than a home

I am the employee code on a maternity leave application tacked to the bottom of a report
I am the voice on a conference call from home to 2 countries
I am the emergency Ceasarean operation due to hypertension

I am the lovely lady at the end of the day while my mom is mom to my kids too
I am the signature on a delivery receipt for a dollhouse and an encyclopedia set
And on a resignation letter that speaks of ‘time for family’ and not a word about sacrifices

I am music lessons, art classes, camps, sports teams and tuitions after school
I am the good manners, language fluency, social etiquette and grades all at 7
I am the hands that dress the star of the show in a kindergarten play
As also the signature on a report card that says “Shows aptitude for figures. Is very quiet and withdrawn”
I am the mother of a brilliant, talented 3-foot stressed know-it-all
….…..the wife of a resentful, guilt-wracked escapist
…….…the lover of a ‘new-age’ sensitive weakling
and the owner of a picture perfect 40 going on 25 face

I am the compartmentalized fragments of what was born a human being
And lives as ..and will one day die as…..Superwoman

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A version of this post appears on Yahoo! Real Beauty.

Parallel Monologues

A brooding player, a sensitive charmer
A lost butterfly, a moody talker…who is who?
One up, one down…who supports who?
Both soaring occasionally in brief moments
That seem snatched from the grasp of reality
Which leaves a pitiful void for what has been and isn’t any more.

Where does your pain end and mine begin?
Do your eyes start where I finish?
Or do my tears flow from where your smile starts to fade?
Do we drown each other’s silence…or noise?

Two times lonely doesn’t make company
Nothing but momentary comfort
That sometimes is all that there is left.
Would you term it empathy?
Would you call it a bond?
Never mind, I’d say
Just call it parallel monologues.

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