One of the Good Days..

It was one of the good days. She woke to him nuzzling her neck, whispering sorry for what he had said yesterday. She teared up and he kissed them away. All forgiven and forgotten.

They stayed in bed late, him talking about one of his students who just refused to look at his books and was forever disrupting class. From the way he said it, he loved this kid! His crazy antics but he said it with an air of pretence exasperation, like how he would really want the kid to just shut up and study. She told him of the new book that she was reading and how it was making her feel all warm and gooey inside, it was the story of a teenager starting life afresh with her family in Alaska. She went on to tell him about how as parents sometimes they ruined lives in the name of love but that was also what forged characters of steel in their children. She told him how conflicted she felt when she read things like this.

For once, after a very long time, they listened to each other. It felt like home, after a very very long time.

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Sati Pratha

My dad told me this story last week. It has been going around in my mind. He got it on whatsapp in Bengali and read it out to me.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was very distraught. All his efforts at abolishing Sati were coming to naught. Nobody wanted Sati to be done away with. It was the only thing that united people across classes and castes, this whole philosophy that widow burning was heroic and courageous. It was as if the women would be declared chaste and devoted to her husband only and only if she immolates herself on the funeral pyre of her husband.

Raja ji thought of giving all this up. He didn’t want to protest any longer. Nobody wanted any reform, they were all happy living with social evils. That decided, he stayed back at his home for days on end.

One day a Brahmin visited his home and refused to leave without meeting him. Distraught as he was Rajaji first refused to meet him. But then moved by his persistence, he met the Brahmin. The Brahmin was there to narrate his story.

He once had a happy family, comprising of his parents, his wife and his daughter. His daughter Radha was 6 years old and already he was being pressurised to marry her off because the neighbours had begun to ask about her “unmarried” status. But he was a poor Brahmin and there was a dowry ask of Rs 100 at a minimum in those days. How was he to find a decent groom for his precious princess in that tiny an amount?

But then he heard of another Brahmin who visited parts of the country and married daughters of other Brahmins for a small dowry of Rs 50, by standing in as proxy for the “future groom” and then found them grooms in other parts of the country. That way, the girls were spoken for already and the eligible men/ boys in other parts got access to a larger pool of eligible girls.

With Radha spoken for like this, their life went back to normal as she continued to thrive at her parents’ place- going to school, playing with dolls, and having fun. One day he came home to see that she had burned her hand. Her mother had told her to manage the kitchen and the poor child had injured herself. The Brahmin explicitly forbade his wife to ever let Radha into the kitchen, also going on to say that we will tell the groom’s family that she will not cook.

A few months later, a letter arrived for them. Radha’s groom had passed away and the letter was a directive from their village’s priests to prepare for Sati. The whole village burst into celebration at this! Their house was done up. He himself got a new sari and new jewellery for Radha who was just as excited to be adorned and dressed up. There were guests at home who they fed with the choicest delicacies and who blessed little Radha. Radha on her part was obsessed with making sure that her Baba ate well. He had been looking under the weather through all this.

And then the procession to the funeral pyre started on its journey. Radha was in the arms of her father. He was holding her close. As they reached the pyre, the heat reached Radha and she clung to her father tightly. She told him, let’s go back home Baba, I don’t like this fire. Her Baba told her, I need to adjust my dhoti, I will just put you on the ground for a minute. As soon as she let her arms go from around his neck, he flung his Radha into the fire.

All he could hear was “Baba.. Babaaaa… Baabaaa…”.

The Brahmin fell at Rajaji’s feet saying that it is you and only you who can save our daughters. I couldn’t save mine. I couldn’t save myself.

With renewed vigor, Rajaji went onto fight this evil practice of #Sati. By the end of the 18th century, the practice had been banned in territories held by some European powers.

Just wanted to share.

PS- putting it in black and white, doesn’t make it hurt less.

Let it be..

Let the old love be,

Don’t walk through moments, don’t only it them,

Don’t look through old pictures, to find new meanings,

Don’t look at the universe, willing it to give you new clues,

Let the old love be.

Leave it and walk into your life.

That which was, can’t be changed, touched..

That which was can’t be your Tomorrow..

That which was has served its purpose in your life.

Now. Just walk into your life.

Image: GoogleImages

Perfect Stories

That gruesome scar on his face,

Suddenly becomes so much more desirable when you come to know that he got burnt trying to save a child,

Those chipped front teeth

You find funnier when she tells you she fell on her face drunk dancing,

That hideous wristband on someone

Becomes much more than a rubbery stretchy thing, when you get to know it was of their child

Who succumbed to terminal illness.

When you know the stories behind imperfections,

Why do they seem perfect?

What if the gruesome scar was a birth mark,

Or the chipped front teeth just the way they grew,

Or the wristband, just a wristband.

We would judge them differently, is it not?

If stories make it easy to accept, find the story.

Sometimes not having a story, is also a story.

Pick effort. Pick yourself.

What takes effort is love

Patience

Generosity

Gratitude

Forgiveness

Anger

Jealousy

Impatience

Hate, are easy.

It’s super easy to do the easy thing.

We stick to the hard things as long as they are easy.

The moment it gets tough, you ask – is this worth it?

That point, precisely then is the tipping point.

If you decide to stay, stay.

Be in it with all abandon.

Pick the difficult route,

It’s got the best sceneries

It’s got the best experiences

And it makes you you.

Disproportionately YOURS..

You have all my pics

Even the ones that I am tempted to hide

I don’t know why you collect mine!

You can see the dark circles

The double chin

The open pores

The growing eyebrows

The smudged Kajal

And you ask for close ups!

Then you say “Wow”!

I can’t find anything wow like there, but you can.

Maybe it’s just how you look at me

Maybe it’s just your eyes

I do find myself pretty

But never thought someone else would too

I am confident enough to know what to wear and how to carry them

But never thought someone would get my style too

Is this what you mean when you say “I love you”?

Or is this just another one of those things that make you you.

And then there’s this warm fuzzy feeling that I feel when I think of you

That threatens to overpower all reason and logic

Your tiny jibes hurt me so bad! It’s so disproportionate that it’s not fair to both you and I

And your little bit of love, leaves me breathless

Is this love? This disproportionate impact?

And then

You finally call me and say

Why the fuck weren’t you answering your phone

And then immediately calm down when I say i was talking to mom

This disproportionate insecurity that you feel, is this love?

Are you afraid that “I” will never call you back?

I want to tell you,

That in this,

You have all the power.

But then the power of love is what I am counting on.

I think I am falling in love.

Image: Pinterest

Walls- only keep you in

Sad eyes on happy faces,

So much hunger in round tummies,

That thirst on wet lips,

Driving by yourself in a long long car,

Unlocking the door to a huge huge apartment,

Curling up on the couch,

To look at others do the same.

Something is wrong somewhere.

When did we start being so scared to get hurt?

That we shut ourselves in.

Featured Image: Water Colour sketch by Malavika Datar

Infinitely Finite – Us

There is no shame in asking for help

There is no shame in asking “silly” questions

There is no shame in not knowing what to do all the time.

It is shameful though-

If you choose to ignore a plea for help,

If you laugh at a question to which you clearly think you know the answer

If you think you always know everything.

You can’t.

We. Us. Humans.

In all our wisdom. We are infinitely finite.

We can’t possibly know everything there is to know or do or feel or think.

That’s why there are so many of us.

To make us parts of a whole.

To make us whole.

Listen, ask, spill, talk, cry, hug, listen.

Be human. Unapologetically.

Relationships are so much work.

Relationships are so much work.

You’ve got to listen

To understand

To care

To speak with love

And then do it all over again.

In between all that,

There are those “I am crazy about you” moments.

When you feel that this. This is what the universe had been planning for you.

That kiss. That hug. That command. That look. The warmth. The tears. The feeling of filling up.

When you look them in the eye, straddle them, take their face in your hands and with every fibre say “I love you”.

But relationships are a lot of work.

To feel that love, the relationship needs effort. And it’s not an inanimate thing.

By relationship, I mean you.

It’s for you, by you and from you.

All that love.