Gravity

I feel like I’m floating 

Floating over things

I see them all but I keep rising

It’s like the earth has suddenly less gravity

But why am I the only one to float?

The force has less power on me now

But is that a good thing?

I don’t know and it certainly feels like it isn’t

I want my feet back on the ground with all the ‘things’ I am repelling now

But those things made me human

All my defences and theories take me far from them

But I don’t want to go far

I want the gravity back but I don’t wana fall again

But is that even possible?

I need an anchor to pull me back to the earth

But I don’t want the bruises from the chains

Till then I’ll keep floating

Wishing something pulls me back 

And that I don’t go so far 

That I never return.

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Living on the edge

I walk down the corridor and hear my own footsteps and nothing else
Did I wish to hear something else?
Did I wish someone to follow me ?
There was nobody in there and I still went inside
It was quiet and not a soul to be seen
I wonder if someone had been here before
It looked like I was the first person to enter
Like I was the only one who ever pushed that dusty door and stood here in isolation
But of course that’s not true
There had been someone else before me
There had been many others before me
Where are they now?
Where did they go?
Did they ever leave this place…
Did their souls leave?

I guess they are trapped here forever
But the question is where do we go from here?
I can go back and never enter this place again
Or I can move forward and get on board
For I am sure I will get somewhere
For there must be some place that you reach
Or is there just vacuum?
Can we fall off the earth if we just travelled to the edge of the world?
Or does a new world start after it?
Or do we just come back to where we started
And deal with the bullshit again?
I wonder.

To all the woke men…

I don’t need to discuss the importance of feminism anymore because I am assuming that the people reading this post already understand it (if not then refer to post 1 of this blog). We as a society are moving forward but the pace is too slow. When it comes to gender equality we can still find people who don’t think it is required and also those who think that it already exists. The fact that these people still exist and choose to remain as ignorant as ever is the biggest reason that we need awareness. There are also people who think that a ‘feminist’ is a woman who hates men and nothing more. This is because there are more female feminists and they are doing great work to get their voices heard but what about the woke men?

I have met men who believe in gender equality but don’t like the word feminist associated with them. I have also met men who do call themselves feminists proudly. Even though the idea is what matters and there is nothing in a name but still there are reasons to associate with it. If men call themselves feminists proudly then the notion that only women are fighting for their rights will break. Men who understand the need for equality in all matters gender should come out in the streets and make their voices on these issues heard and should stand up for them every chance they get. Shout the slogans at rallies, take part in campaigns, write your opinions on social media but stand up for what you believe in. This is the one label you should wear on your sleeve and be proud of.

So to all the woke men out there I would like to request you to raise your voices and let the other men see and hear you. Show your faces and scream your hearts out because you need to tell the ignorant people out there that a feminist is a person who stands for equality and change. Our genders have nothing to do with this belief but yes we still need to break those false notions that feminists are just man hating females.

It is essential that men and women fight for each other and not against each other. No feminist is fighting the other genders and we all need to stand together. as a society we have been dealing with our differences since the beginning of time. Our different languages, skin colours and religions have given us a lot of chances to fight and rip each other. So now let us stand together for something that we can and we should believe in and fight for it together.

So to all the woke men out there…we need you to stand up.

The ‘subtle’ sexism

We are living in a world that is struggling to achieve equality and maturity in all matters gender. There are times when we all face certain sexist situations but we choose to stay quiet and not make a big deal of it. What these little encounters suggest is that our society is like that stubborn child who refuses to let go of patriarchy. Sexism is something that is experienced by all genders but it is a fact that women have been the biggest victims of this evil. Women have been dealing with sexism since centuries and the struggle continues. It is true that many of us have it better than so many others because of all the struggle and work of the feminists before us but the pace remains slow.

A lot of people pretend to support and believe in equality because it seems like a trend to them but they are not able to hide their inherent sexism which shows up in many places. Be it work, the gym or even a sports event these people are always ready with comments like “she runs fast for a girl” or “even though she is a girl she can lift a lot of weight”. These people are not targeted because they wear a mask of pretense in front of large crowds to fit in the so called ‘trend’. There are so many cases of women who have tackled this kind of sexism at work when they are considered either less capable than the other gender or simply not equipped to do any job that requires aggression or physical work. We have heard men say that even though women claim that they want equality they still have a reserved coach in the metro or that women are not always given the late night shifts at work. To all these men I can just ask one question, what is the reason that women are not feeling safe in the general coach or why do they fear walking on a street late at night or getting a cab at 1 am?

Coming back to the ‘subtle’ sexism we should not forget our own families. Have you witnessed any such thing at home? Is your father more protective and strict for your sister and she has more curfews than you do? if anyone asks for a glass of water, is it obvious that your mother or sister will fetch it? Well if your answers are ‘no’ then congratulations because you are a part of a very small group. The sexism that takes place in Indian families is often subtle because the women are taught since childhood that they are ‘supposed’ to do all this as they are the ‘domestic’ creatures. Therefore when they grow up they are simply expected to live up to all those norms.

There are many heterosexual couples where the guy expects the girl to dress a certain way and not bear a lot of skin. I have seen guys tell their girlfriends repeatedly to take care of her peeking bra straps or not wear shorts that are too short. The girl usually believes that the guy just makes these remarks because he loves her, but is that just it? This kind of sexism is dangerous because the people who practice it actually believe that they are progressive. We should all aim to move forward and keep moving as that is the only way we will be able to smash the glass ceiling once and for all.

Book Review~ Hunger Games: Mockingjay

“There are much worse games to play”

― Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

 

Mockingjay, the third book in the science fiction trilogy by Suzanne Collins was released in 2010. I loved the first two books of the Hunger games series which obviously raised my expectations  for the last one. When it comes to the last book of the series we always want it to be the best and have a satisfying end which we can live with, but many a times it happens that the author who is already under the pressure of giving the book a happy ending is not able to make it satisfying. Mockingjay is the conclusion of the Hunger games trilogy and the only book of the series which doesn’t actually have the namesake tournament in it.

*****SPOILER ALERT*****

Katniss Everdeen who was rescued from the 75th hunger games visits district 12 to find it in ashes after the capitol blew it up as revenge. Peeta could not be rescued from the arena and is now held captive by the capitol along with some other tributes. District 13 is heading the rebellion against the capitol and Katniss plays the role of the Mockingjay, the face of the rebellion. Katniss tries to unite the other districts and is able to encourage them to stand against Snow. The rebels succeed in rescuing Peeta and the other tributes from the capitol only to find out that President Snow has turned Peeta into a weapon against Katniss by a technique called ‘Hijacking’ (a form of brainwashing). Soon Katniss along with a special team of rebels enters the capitol where Snow has set new challenges and obstacles equivalent to the Hunger games. After a lot of fighting, escaping and loss of life the rebels are able to conquer the capitol and take Snow as prisoner. On the day Snow is to be executed, Katniss takes a decision which shocks everyone and becomes the best part of the book!

Themes like loss, power, politics, warfare and hope for a better future make this book complex , intriguing and a mess! The first two books of the series gave Collins the comfort of writing almost the same book twice (which she did brilliantly) but Mockingjay was supposed to be the Epic conclusion or the awaited war novel which required a lot more. The book has all the right ingredients needed to become an epic conclusion but lacks the fluidity and pace to bind all these factors together. When compared to the previous books Mockingjay is darker and more complicated as Katniss realizes the truth behind politics and power. There are times when it is really annoying to see Katniss as a mere pawn doing whatever is told to her but towards the end you can see some growth in her character. Another important factor of the story which is the love triangle or the Peeta vs Gale contest finally ends with Katniss going with the obvious choice (not that I’m complaining).

What people sometimes forget is that Hunger Games is not a love story or a mere good vs evil story, it is much more than that. This series portrays the harsh realities of our own world and the politics and corruption of our governments. The struggle of the districts to bring down the corrupt leader is more than relatable today. The story may be set in some futuristic setting but the story has been inspired from our own world and history. Alma Coin is one of the best characters as Collins has accurately depicted how the world is not just black and white. Coin has her shades of grey and they are not just in her hair. Another great character who mostly gets the best quotes in the book is Plutarch Heavensbee.

Even though I enjoyed reading Catching fire more because of all the adrenaline, I do feel that Mockingjay is somehow a better book because of its originality and complexity. There maybe some dull moments or even chapters but the maturity of the plot and portrayal of the revolution makes it so ‘Real’! (hope you get the reference :p)

 

Memorable quote- “We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self destruction.”

My Rating- 8/10

 

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One for the anxious…

My woes surround me from all directions as I walk down the same lane each day. I stop for a while and the cloud of stress swallows me whole. There was a time when I could see the light through it all but now all I see is smoke. Smoke from the fire that burns my ambitions, smoke from the fire that burns my dreams as I doubt anything and everything. I write my name and check the spellings, I use a calculator to add 2 and 2. My boggart follows me wherever I go and even laughter cannot make it disappear. It changes forms but never leaves me alone.

Death scares me but not of my own, it is the fear of losing more and more. I look at the ones I love and think when they will leave and cry because they surely will. I think of letting go every time I stand on the edge holding the letter but the screams of terror stop me. So I turn back every time and return to the darkness once more. The boggart follows.

I laugh, I cry and I also smile but it all comes with the tick of the stopwatch. I lay in bed every night putting it all together for the next day. I plan each step and predict the outcomes. There are things that I cannot predict and they just get the best of me as I lay helpless going through it all again. I feel sick all the time but the thermometer doesn’t show it.

I dive into pages of fantasies and stay with the people that comfort me. I put the earphones in so that the world can stay out for a while. The tunes I hum on the subway are always the same because I like the tune of familiarity. I walk with the heavy mask of pretence and keep it on for the whole day. It helps me walk by without being recognized for what I really am inside.

My fear of the unknown and uncertain does not let me step forward. I don’t dream about the future I only count my fears of it. Everything repeats as I open my eyes each day which is funny because I don’t remember closing them. I spend my time thinking and re-thinking everything that I think. They ask me a yes/no question and I answer with a maybe for I see the dark in every white and the glass always remains empty.

 

 

Book Review~ The Lovely Bones

“My name was Salmon, like the fish, first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.”

American author Alice Sebold is known for her daring opening lines which grab your attention and make sure you read ahead. The opening lines of her literary success ‘The Lovely Bones’ are narrated by a 14 year old Susie Salmon who in the first chapter itself makes the reader aware of her murder and rape by one of her neighbours. You might be thinking that a book which kills off the protagonist in the first chapter and even tells you who the murderer is, might be a dull and boring thing to read with no real substance to go on. But that’s where Sebold proves you wrong.
Yes, it is a story of a dead girl who is unable to move on as she still clings to her life on earth and is not ready to let go of her loved ones. Susie is waiting for justice which is hard to come by as her murderer George Harvey is quite a professional. Meanwhile each member of the Salmon family is coping with the loss in different ways while Susie is watching them from her heaven. Jack salmon works day and night to fit the pieces that could solve the puzzle which is his daughter’s murder case. His passion and desperation to find the killer is perceived by others as reluctancy to move on and accept the death of his daughter. Susie’s mother Abigail pulls herself away from her family to deal with the grief while younger sister Lindsey channels her grief into physically and emotionally strengthening herself. Susie watches her younger sister grow up and go through all the experiences she herself will never be able to witness. She has to deal with the grief of her own death as much as her family, she must accept it and let go.
The book deals with grief and loss very well with every character coping with it according to their personality. There are some characters that could have used more detailing as it would have been interesting to know more about them. The book feels dragged at times when it focuses on the time gone by and the growth of several characters. There are complex themes like loss, guilt and isolation which make this book a literary genius.

When it comes to the ending it is not satisfactory for me because I wanted something brutal. Sebold does not give you brutal, she gives a ray of hope and a subtle end with justice served by karma itself. She makes you think about the concept of afterlife and karma in a different way and tries to end the book on a positive note which can feel a bit forced.

This book is almost like a horror story showing that there is nothing more terrifying on earth than humans themselves. The story unveils the horrors of our world and makes you feel helpless at times but there is always that little flame of hope that burns in the hearts of those you love.

Rating: 8.5/10

Memorable quote:

-“Because horror on earth is real and it is every day. It is like the flower or like the sun; it cannot be contained”

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Do we crave labels?

 

We have all grown up labeling things, people and situations just like we label cardboard boxes and jars. It is believed that humans fear anything they cannot understand or find different. Is this why we make it a fact to define everything around us?

Humans fear anything and everything that they find different than usual. This limits our horizons and makes us question the uniqueness and differences that we are surrounded by. It may not look like a problem because labeling seems like a normal and healthy activity as it sorts things for us making them easy to understand. But what about the labels that can actually cause some damage? When we try to put labels like male, female, homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual he, she etc we feel that we are trying to understand gender and sexuality better even though in this process we always make some groups feel left out. It is harmful to those who don’t find their box and feel unidentified. These labels make the walls so rigid that it becomes plain stupid. So a straight or heterosexual person can only be attracted to the opposite sex and then if you still find someone from the same sex attractive then you are not straight anymore or maybe you are confused.

Whenever we find out that there are still areas and aspects that we cannot put in the same box then we just make new labels and feel secure again. There are things in this world that are not meant to be defined but humans fail to understand or accept that. Also when we focus more on the labels we neglect the discrimination and confusion that our society is dealing with. You will still hear someone making an ignorant remark like “a bisexual person is just someone who hasn’t made up their mind yet.” So what is the point in making these terms when we are still not fully aware or ready to embrace their meanings? We are so adamant on making people pick a side and stick to it. What about those who still don’t find a box that can fully contain them?

Many of us are much more sexually and gender fluid than we even understand ourselves. The world is growing and even though the pace is slow (specially in the third world) we can still expect it to understand the abstract that is life one day. For now, is the fear of the unknown so terrifying for us that we are not ready to accept anything we don’t understand or do we just crave labels?

The Indian marriage obsession

Are you in your twenties and worrying about being forced into the Indian marriage market? Do you want to study ahead just because you don’t want to appear free and eligible for marriage? Did you recently find out that one of your school batch mates is now married? Well if you can relate to any of these situations then I want to tell you that first please relax, and second don’t give in to the pressure if you don’t want to.

It is believed that our twenties are to explore, experiment and discover ourselves. But the Indian society expects you to make a secure career (preferably as a doctor, engineer, banker, lawyer) and then get married to a person (preferably chosen by your parents) and even have a kid (preferably a boy). If you don’t agree with these terms and are not ready for all these things then you will have to fight your loved ones, your relatives, your neighbours, the guy who sells golgappas on the corner and basically the society. Majority of Indians don’t consider it worth fighting and give in to the norms and settle down. What is wrong with this ideology is that a person may not be mentally prepared to have such a big change in their life but they are expected to do so because that is what their parents did and God help those who never want to get married because they will be shunned by society.

Parents start saving up for their child’s marriage the moment he or she is born. Education is important but marriage is essential for them. If it is a girl child then education is just like an ornament which she can do without.  Why is India so obsessed with marriage? Is it for the love of reproduction? Well that does answer for a big majority of people. You must have heard people saying how they immediately had children after getting married. Indian brides are sometimes indirectly told in how much time she should have a baby in her belly by her in laws. Even after being the second most populated country India does not get over its obsession with reproduction because why come second in a race that we can easily win right?

In ancient times marriage was a way to survive and a trade of assets but its relevance should be questioned today. It is the 21st century where on one hand we are able to discuss gender and sexuality on a spectrum and on the other people are still considering marriage as the most important part of their lives. Well of course if you love someone and want to spend your life with them and you live in a country where they won’t even let you hold hands in public then maybe you don’t have a choice but to get married. But what about those who are not in love with anyone or even if they are they don’t wish to get this label? When will the Indian society learn the fact that marriage should not be imposed on people.

We do come from a culture where our mythology tells us tales of a woman who was forced to marry 5 men at the same time and of one who was asked to testify her ‘purity’ by her own husband and a woman who was cursed to become a stone by her husband for a crime that was not her own. After growing up listening to all these stories, how can you not love the idea of marriage right?

 

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