Wrinkles.

As my breathing turned laborious with every tick of the smallest hand on the clock, the touch of the metal felt colder against my burning toes. I had wound up in a hospital bed after 87 rounds around the Sun, give or take a few, depending upon my father’s memory. I tried to move my feet away from the bedstand but it required too much energy, much more than I could expend. Tears rolled down my face, tickling my hot face, nestling in my week-old stubble, but there was none to wipe them. My hands lay by my side, feeble and wrinkled. I reminisced the touch of wrinkled hands on my skin over the years – the grandmother who nursed my fevers, the mother who taught me to cross the roads, who I later accompanied to hospices, the wife who died in her sleep while she held my hand. That touch of wrinkled skin is what I longed for again, as I lay breathing my last, my skin on ice and fire at the same time.

Graciously Yours!

Bloodied wings.

“No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. … There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!” ~ Nietzsche.

 

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Out my grilled windows of opportunity, I eyed the wings hung out to dry, shining, gleaming with drops of perspiration, bejeweled with courage, preened carefully by a woman’s struggles, cast aside after a woman’s untimely and dismal departure – not that all death is dismal, some is disappointingly delayed – a woman I knew, admired. I’d hoped the wings would be bequeathed to me, be mine much like the life lessons she’d bestowed upon me, mine to wear and strut about. As I strutted in my thoughts, women eyeing me green, the same women were approaching the precious, greed gleaming in their eyes, their walk cautious, stealthy. But as soon as they touched the wings, it’s magnificence turned into hues of red, blood dripping onto the ground beneath and screams of anguish, pain and disappointment ranting through the air, of the women who’d dared to adorn the fruits of a path they had never walked upon.

If the battle isn’t yours, don’t crave the glory,” she’d said.

Graciously Yours!

Skin.

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My skin doesn’t define my abilities, add to my flaws, state my history, limit my opportunities or validate my behaviour. Neither should yours.

Firm or lined, or just sallow, that weird shade of yellow,

Bruised from the workouts or battered and broken from your handouts,

Patchy, shaded, hairy or tanned enough to never detan,

Red, brown, black, pimpled, acned, wrinkled, or just glowing from the baby inside.

Looking them down,

All my life I’ve lived proud,

In a skin which refused to take on hues,

My whiteness making me privileged,

Until a fellow white decided,

To wield the gun out.

The windfall rise that I’d seen,

Because of my skin led,

To my fall too.

And at the end, I know how it felt,

To be called out for your skin too.

Graciously Yours!

P.S.: In support of all people who’ve been hurt in ways unimaginable and inhuman because of the amount of melanin their tissues contain – something so small and insignificant to the potential a human mind can yield that you really end up questioning if we are indeed a higher race!

(Not) Another Size Zero Story.

And there it is! How I began my journey towards fitness and why I hope it continues well for me. Juggernaut Writing Platform provided me the opportunity to open up about it and I hope you will all give it a read.

Oh yes, that is me on the cover picture below, just in case you were wondering. And even if you weren’t!

Presenting to you :

https://www.juggernaut.in/books/ca87893193bd4f2c – click on link to read.

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Download the app, sign up to read the entire story! A short 10 min read. ❤

Your views and reviews will be greatly helpful. Also, fitness and diet tips are welcome!

Graciously Yours!

 

No, she said.

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Demure, quiet, she kept to herself as she walked down the road of life.

Wary, alert, carefully she kept her distance from people.

She hurried if she felt people approaching.

She hastened her steps when men asked her questions, quickening her pace, mouthing the same word over and over again, “No.”

She walked on too fast and too long, alone, the voices in her head keeping her company.

She stopped for breath, the voices ebbing, feeling lonely, struggling to breathe easy.

She wondered why she didn’t hesitate before saying, “No”, why she thought later but answered before.

She questioned herself for the first time. All the men she’d said “No” reappeared beside her, imploringly staring at her, waiting for her to say something. They demanded answers to the question she was asking her own self.

“No,” she said. Her mind kept repeating “No” until her legs took her far away. The voices came back stronger than ever.

“Don’t let men touch you.”

“Never talk to strangers.”

“Men cannot be trusted.”

“He won’t want to marry you.”

“Don’t heed to your body.”

“He doesn’t care.”

“..not..”

“Never..”

“Don’t..”

“..no..”

That is why she said, “No.” Because that is all she’d been taught!

Graciously Yours!

 

Calcutta Calling!

Oh, Calcutta. You beauty.

The moment I stepped out of the airplane, the air came down on me warm and heavy! My body knew it was in Calcutta before my brain could even decode the neural transmissions. I can feel dampness in my breath. My hair feels sticky all over. And my jeans feel like they’ve shrunk two sizes. Time to tie my hair in a bun. Calcutta, here I come!

As I walk down the too familiar lanes of the neighbourhood I was brought up in, I see known faces, known shops, the same muri seller, fruit vendor, cobbler, security guards and even beggars. I smile at them, some smile back, some don’t. Some remember me, throw a greeting, others don’t, wondering if the heat is playing with their mind. Even the graffiti on the wall seems the same! A wave of nostalgia washes over me again, yet again. I say yet again because every six months that I head back to town, I realise how little it has changed and how the comfort of knowing the place makes me feel happy and sheltered.

The more I look around, draw comparatives, recall memories of times spent in the nooks and crannies of the city, the more I realise nothing’s changed. Nothing’s changed and yet something has. The city has moved on without me yet it remains the same. I can smell the sweat, hear the shouts of the boudi in the bus, see the kids taking a shower under water tanker tap, feel the camaraderie only this city exudes. And yet I too have changed. The nostalgia washes over as waves but I know that I will swim through these too. Home still feels home but I don’t rush to read through my scrapbooks or run my hand over the trophies I’d won.

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Maybe, like the city, I too, am growing. Older and wiser, each day.

Graciously Yours!

Open Up The Spaces.

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There I was, sitting on the topmost stair of the spectators’ gallery of a playground, writing, when a soccer ball landed with a thud right on my foot. I was taken by surprise and flooded with a flurry of apologies. I wasn’t hurt, no. But I roused concern among the boys. But why only the boys? Because there were no other girls around.

Why do men have a monopoly over open spaces? Why, if you look at the massive green stretches of open spaces in our cities and possibly even towns, do you find scores and scores of men playing all sorts of sports but no women? Why are we women still found standing by the entrance watching them play from afar, waiting for the men to return to us? Why can’t we swing the bat hard? Why can’t we kick a soccer ball away? Why can’t we dribble in sweat and exhilarate with ten others at a game played well? Why can’t we grab and hold in kabaddi? Why are we at the edges? Why are we scared of injuring ourselves?

Why do I see girls play badminton? Or cycle? Or skip? Or just choose to go for a walk? Why not put them together in teams too? Why not teach them to be a leader, a team player, bond with each other over match strategies and get that competitive spirit going? Why not teach our women to pull up other women and not push them down? Why not familiarize them with the touch of men so that they know the difference between the touch of love and lust? Why don’t our brothers teach us to toughen up? Why are our cuts and bruises scolded for and theirs disregarded? Well, that actually shows women are more careful about first aid, but you get the point, right?

What are we so scared of?

That our women will get hurt? Or they might disagree to sit inside homes any longer?

That our women will bring the team down? Or that they’ll become strong enough to form their own teams?

That they might overexert? Or that they will learn to embrace their bodies as they are?

What in the world are we afraid of?
Are we more fearful of our insecure men?
Or are we fearful of making our women secure?

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The author is well aware of the countless women who have made a superlative mark in the world of professional sports and is in no way trying to belittle the spectacular magnitude of their efforts. The author is well aware of women who are pushing all limits exceedingly well and breaking glass barriers every day. This post is not intended for those women. Instead, it is intended to bring out the other ladies, young and old, strong and weak, into the open so that they find out for themselves what wonders their graceful, lithe bodies can do, if only they allowed it to!

Graciously Yours!

The Cycling Chronicles.

What do I have in common with Lance Armstrong? Greg LeMond? Peter Sagan? Nothing at all. Except that they are some of the best cyclists humankind has known and I might probably be one of the worst. Or let me just be modest and say, humankind might see me as a person who’s awkwardly seated, desperate to un-hunch her shoulders, clearly locking her elbows and panting on inclines but cycling nonetheless!

I have only known how to cycle for about a dozen months now. It’s a shocker to most people and yes, I am still trying to respond to “What were you really doing as a child then?!”.

Of recent, I have finally gathered the courage to cycle on the main roads, albeit at light traffic hours, but it should still count – considering I’m collecting enough anecdotes to write a post about!

  • My usual morning workout includes cycling a couple of kms before I hit the gym – the snag being that the road is almost at a 20-degree incline and it is ‘oh-so-not-easy’! The burn in my thighs and the shortness of breath kill, while I dissuade myself from staring back at passers-by who would have probably walked past faster, and also because India (we have people everywhere, all the time). One of those days when I was barely wheezing past the stretch of incline, my speed faltered, a couple of vehicles overtook, distracted me and bam! Turbulence hit, brakes were applied but I still went and rammed into a garbage truck picking up its trash. Wait. Don’t jump to dirty conclusions! The truck was okay. The cycle was okay. I was okay. And no garbage fell on anyone, anywhere. I swear. Otherwise, there would have been a selfie, for sure! One doesn’t experience a lot many selfie worthy embarrassing moments in life.

 

  • Guess what happened one of those days when I parked my cycle below the gym and was happily sweating it out upstairs? Someone ran off with one of the handle grips on my cycle. Or they might have sauntered off at a leisurely pace. I will never know. What I will remember are the scratches and cuts my right hand faced that morning while cycling back due to the absence of said pilfered item. How much could have a handle grip cost them? Or was that funny for them? Haha. Not funny.
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And just like that – vandalism enters my life.
  • My cycle seems to be a pet peeve for many around. The other day someone left an empty plastic water bottle in the basket. I ignored it thinking one of the building staff might have left it there by mistake. The next day a bouquet of dried out roses were stashed there. Of course, people have asked me if it was left there for me by a “secret admirer”. But what if they were left behind by the person who stole my handle grip and then he stole this bouquet from someone’s trash and thinks dried roses can be apologetic enough? The world works in mysterious ways.
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Roses and no note? I want my note! You can take the roses away.
  • We all strive to look cool once in a while. I thought my Bluetooth earphones might do the trick for me. I put them on one morning, but they didn’t last a minute in my ears. Thanks to the uneven and pothole-riddled roads of Bangalore, the earphones kept dropping out and became more of a distracting menace than a cool kids’ gizmo! So cool of you Bangalore city, so cool. Attention on the road is more important than looking cool. I get it! Thanks.

See you around. Cycling, hopefully.

Graciously Yours!

P.S.: Also, thank you A, for literally running with me all those weeks, helping me get a hang of figure eights and u-turns and, simply, cycling.

Them.

While I sleep, the world around me is awake. Not today though. I am awake too. But only in the body, not in the mind. But then was I ever?

These people, the ones out here – they know something I don’t. They look at me and exchange glances. They stare me down. I look away. But for how long? And where? They are everywhere. They point towards me when I don’t look. I can feel it. Or is it my imagination? They pause while I walk by. I walk faster. Rushing along, not sure where I am headed. The road is straight, lined with concrete on both sides. Trees grow from within the concrete. The people – they’re all moving in the opposite direction. Only I walk towards the horizon, the horizon where the Sun didn’t rise from.

They don’t look at me. They stare through me and yet their gaze is piercing.  I look away too fast. I can’t read their eyes. Is it pity at my ignorance? Anger that I don’t bother? Or is it angst at how I am spending my life? Caution that I want to join their tribe? Or are they curious? Do they not see me as one of them?

I know I am different from them. My necessities are luxuries for them. They might have lesser than me but their smiles reach their eyes. They build a life while I simply redecorate. I have all that I want and more than I could ask for. What do I do with these though? Why are we really living? Or is it death that we await?

Graciously Yours!

Moo Points?

My week started on a bad note – regular household issues – oh yes, we bachelors have those too. No maid, cook screwed up the food quantities, delayed to work, no transport, traffic and oh, the heat! So coming up, are a lot of moo points. Take it or leave it, but do read it!

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As I strode purposefully towards the main road, following my Mom’s advice to calm down, cars and bikes zipping past me, a cab honking at me for taking up road space (well, the footpath could give me a sprain, they’re that bad), I saw a cow ambling at 10 am in the morning, barely moving enough to place one foot ahead of the other, ten seconds at a time.

Cars conveniently circled around her and went their way, not even bothering to honk. Why me then? Why was I expected to be on the footpath when this cow could do whatever she liked? Why did I have to chide myself for being late for office at 10 in the morning when this cow could just loiter around, literally doing nothing!

“Eat more meat.” “Focus on your calcium intake.” “What about carbs?” “And when will you take those multivitamins?” So much talk about food and food preparation. If she’s hungry, she doesn’t even have to go to the kitchen to whip up something or Swiggy food! She can just regurgitate food ingested earlier and chew it again! Not that I want my ingested food back in my mouth, urgh, but just sayin’!

She can be white. She can be black. She can be brown. Or even a mix of all three. And she’ll still be loved for who she is. Why? Why do I have to then worry about being tanned? Why can’t I just be I loved for who I am?

Oh and here in a country where Hinduism is largely significant, she even gets protection for just being who she is – a female. Talk about harming a cow and behold the furore that will persist. While we two-legged women carry around pepper sprays even in broad daylight – for the exact same reason – because we’re females.

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And that’s how I ended up with an existential crisis conferred upon me by a lone cow, walking at her own pace in the middle of a road, refusing to make way for the world rushing around.

The heat fried my brains, I guess.

Still,

Graciously Yours!

Raw emotions. Inked.

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