Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rites of Passage

I grow weary of my own writing, each collection of words weaved together over months and years – the older ones I have stopped relating to a long time ago, and the more recent ones seem colorless, monotonous, uninspired. The only thing I can appreciate in my collected work is my effort to be honest. Even though perceptions are ever-changing, any given piece of writing reflects my reality or my fiction at that point, and in that it is as honest as it could have ever been.

Everything else seems so pointless. I am too emotional, and though the most overused word in all my work is love, it is also the most misused. I am certainly capable of being intense, even passionate, I am capable of feeling strongly and deeply, and I am capable of great attachment and fondness, but love is elusive and incomprehensible. I don’t know the nature of love, and I don’t even know whether I am capable of it or indeed what qualifies one to be capable of it. Altogether I conclude that I am too emotional in my writing, even though I become less and less demonstrative in my life – a process that is scary and stabilizing at the same time.

I find myself criticizing the content and style of my work almost while I am writing it, it seems to me that I have pondered over the same narrow subjects for too much time and beyond that is a great impenetrable abyss of nothingness. At the same time, people in my life increasingly criticize my withdrawal into myself, they complain about my seeming lack of emotion – it is such a drastic change for them. To them, I am completely changed; the same girl who was so vocal about her affection for them is withdrawn and silent now.

The dislike that I’ve developed of my own creations is disconcerting. It used to define my identity in some ways, but now I shy away from calling myself a writer, and I don’t make an effort to show anyone what I write. The only thing I know for sure is that I don’t know enough about the things I want to write about. I’ve been armed with tools to crave out beautiful sculptures but I don’t have the material. The cool marble slabs, the physical mass of a rock to shape – I don’t have it. I have tools and thin air. And the air is tinged with limitations of geography and experience.

My reality is narrow enough to be a prison cell. There are only so many stories I can tell, of madness and neuroses and disillusionment. I grow weary of them all. That’s not completely me, and I hate to give myself and the readers a fallacy wrapped in the trappings of some sort of truth. Yet it’s hard to tap what is beyond. I can continue looking inward, perhaps even continue writing about it, but I’m not content with just that anymore. Just like I am not content with just writing anymore, haven’t been for years. The only possible solution I see now is to immerse myself in something else, something totally different.

Reading, learning and seeking have acquired a new urgency now – I feel an almost desperate need to delve into these things. Any time spent not pursuing a new project or gathering knowledge seems like time wasted. I feel like I was paddling in a shallow pool and am now taking stronger, deeper, braver strokes to the deep ocean. A beautiful, drastic change; I hope that somewhere along my journey I will reach an island where I will find a way to express myself, it is my responsibility now to do some of the most amazing work I will do in my lifetime and it is my responsibility also to see that writing is involved in some way. Two more years where they will continue to arm me with tools and other peoples’ universe and I must read extensively, delve deeper, and seek more: there is a lot of time to find my island and find my voice. Maybe I will be able to say something substantial soon.

I must hold on.

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's been way too many animal friends we've had to say good bye to this year.

RIP Addy. You are loved and missed.

Also Mia, Jhapsha, PMD, PsychoKat, Mishti.

My Mia, you are always with me.

Little baby Nazi, come back. Everyone's worried.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Oh, fuck. I'm so smitten.

I just heard this here.

"And I can't become my father when it's all been said and done
His completions won't complete me
I've divided me by one, I'm the answer to his riddle
I'm the caution of his wind
I'm the spoon wedged between tongue and teeth beneath his trembling grin
And I dare add my revision for I dare not suffer twice and I dare not reinvent the past
And I dare not be the Christ and I welcome any sufferer
And I welcome any Saul
Sitting in this room, on wooden bench, waiting for Joi to call
And I suffer here alone, Lord
Perturbed by my every thought
How I've tried to strip them to the bone I've struggled and I've fought
Every jealous warped intention, smuggled, sewn into my genes
Every hidden mongrel tendency exploiting me in me

Each time I put them under but still they wanna test me
I cry out through the thunder...
You storm right past me...
I search and I ponder...
I question and wonder... I roar and I thunder, please, let me in

I've been waiting here for what now seems the better of an hour
I've raised every crippled question from the dead and given power to the absence of my sanity
The presence of a fear that lies in between forgotten dreams that pile up every year
Up above the highest testaments, down below the wooden floor
There's a gutted room, pitch black at noon, beneath a hidden door
Deep within, you'll find the attributes of every sunken man
Who must bang his head against the dead each day he tries to stand
And he's standing pressed against the very woman that he loves
Kissing eyes and lips, embracing hips, surrendering to her touch
And just at the very moment that he touches heart to heart
She pulls from his touch, 'cause it's too much to mend what's torn apart

Each time I put them under but still they wanna test me
I cry out through the thunder...
You storm right past me...
I search and I ponder.
I question and wonder... I roar and I thunder, please, let me in

It's so hard to be the man I would be if hatred and fear no longer appeared
I swear I've become the skin of a drum, the heart of a man, divided I stand"

Skin of a drum, Saul Williams

With the questioning and the awareness and the passion and intensity and the calm and the storm and the contemplation and the explanation and the acceptance and the anger and the tears and the uplifting ecstasy, there is closure.

I love you, Saul.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Touched With Fire

...I have a term paper to submit this week. I've been reading and reading and not writing it at all.

It's about this man's work -

"Whereas, breakbeats have been the missing link connecting the diasporic
Community to it's drum woven past
Whereas the quantised drum has allowed the whirling mathematicians to
Calculate the ever changing distance between rock and stardom.
Whereas the velocity of the spinning vinyl, cross-faded, spun backwards, and
Re-released at the same given moment of recorded history, yet at a
Different moment in time's continuum has allowed history to catch up with
The present.

We do hereby declare reality unkempt by the changing standards of dialogue.
Statements, such as, "keep it real", especially when punctuating or
Anticipating modes of ultra-violence inflicted psychologically or physically
Or depicting an unchanging rule of events will hence forth be seen as
Retro-active and not representative of the individually determined is."

Saul Williams : Coded Language, Amethyst Rock Star (2001)

I am overwhelmed. I don't know how to begin, so after this post I'll start with random paragraphs that will ultimately tie up with what I want to say. I know it won't be enough. But I hope it will be adequate.

I was looking at his poetry, and inevitably this caught my eye and then stayed on my mind (for two very different reasons):

"C'mon let's see if it fits. Two little boys with a magic marker marked her and it won't come out. "They put it in me!" "No he didn't, what are you talking about? It's not permanent. It'll come out when you wash it." Damn maybe it was permanent. I can't forget. And I hope she doesn't remember. Maybe magic marked her."

It's beautiful when he reads it out.

I have five-hour-power cuts, missing kitten woes, and friends in faraway places to smile at. God-of-Small-Things burstiness to write about.

And hopefully, hopefully -- I can do justice to Saul Williams.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Summer storms in Calcutta are delicious.
I wonder if I had that dream again last night,
Or whether my mind made it up later or
Whether it’s the same thing either way:
Cherry blossoms falling in Japan
Soft pink fragile velvety bits of spring
Millions of them, like the stars in the
Enormous rural Indian sky I remember
Being awed by

I always forget most of my dreams, anyway. It’s been so long since I had that one about the house. I guess because there’s no man to hide anymore, and because I am more rebellious. Maybe I’ll stop having it altogether, someday. I’ve stopped having that dream where I’m about to die and running for my life. I always used to have the fan whirring over me during that dream, and wake up in an uncomfortable sweat.

I just ignore things now
People who try to tell me
How to run my life are met
With a stone wall of indifference

Throw open the windows, Shreya
You are not going to go alone, I won’t allow it
Have you eaten lunch?
Pay more attention to me

If you’re really special, I won’t give you the stony stare. Instead I’ll make a joke. Let’s agree to be in parallel places, I say to you in my head, because by this very premise you are not supposed to understand. Last week you said I should put on some weight, and why was I looking so much darker? I smiled at you, and then laughed about how no one would marry me because I’m thin and dark. You looked troubled for a second, even though you smiled too. You said, no, because I know your original colour.

What original colour?
I was a snow white baby
Then I fell in love with the sun
The people who gave me their cells are
What they call fair
One of them has a peaches and cream face
The other one has a bi-colour arm
Most of it brown, and then
Half sleeved underexposed
I love colours: honey and olive and chocolate
I have many

Of course you know my Original Colour. You practically raised me. I can’t find my baby pictures anymore, but that kid doesn’t look like me actually. I love looking at her. She smiles a lot, she plays with her toys and her little blue cycle with three wheels, she used to bite people’s chins while she was teething, and I know a lot about her because people tell me stories. You took all my baby pictures, including the one that is enlarged and framed in the Other Room. We have many memories together. Benaras, Aliporeduar, Siliguri, Seoni. Each one a chronicle, each one monumental: so much so I can’t even talk about them.

Maybe I’ll have a dream tonight
Summer nights rob me of sleep
Someone ask them to pay me back
I am weary and it is easy to let
Gems slip from between my fingers
Multi-coloured gems of incoherence

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


If I mirrored you, could you look me in the eye?

Shiny Happy Fits?

It's funny how things unfold like a plateau for the longest time, but just a few days or hours make life jump to another plane altogether. It's funny and breathtaking and joyful, because there are no full stops. This realization is immense.

I'm going to let my voice jump off the rooftop in complete ecstasy. The moon shone like a mirror back at me a few days ago. I swear I've never seen it like that ever before. It's a mental picture that I suspect will stay with me for a long time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What is it about a person that makes them take the worst horrors, look them in the eye unflinchingly, stare them down and move forward?

Is it the fact that they are capable of the most terrible cruelty too?

Is it self preservation?

Is it escapism?

Is it freedom?

Is it the way to be happy?

Whatever it is, it seems to be working.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Starry Starry Night

I feel jaded and cynical all week and then on one sleepless Saturday night (or early Sunday morning) I chance upon your clear, honest, smiling, serene face looking straight at me from a picture and I feel like I have some faith again. It's a reaffirmation of all of the things I believe in about goodness and the capability of people to have it. It's very definite, it doesn't give me mixed feelings at all. Can anyone be so good? Please don't disappoint me. I don't expect anything from you, just keep the goodness consistently, that's all. You fill me up with goodness just because you have so much of it. You are it. I love that about you.