Leslie

Leslie is bright and young. She is what is popularly called these days – a risk-taker. When she was 5 years old, her parents threw her out of the car while driving through a field of carrots. She spent the night crying in the field, and by morning she had made up her mind never to cry again. A small child, tears dried up on her muddy face she turned towards the forest instead of the road and walked straight into a cage full of crows. When the cage was opened in Gothenburg the workers found her covered in filth, smiling. They left her in a shelter and a kind lady bathed her and dressed her. “You must be starving dear child”, the kind lady said pouring some soup in a bowl. “No I am alright, thank you,” Leslie politely declined.  

Leslie does not remember much from the time before the crows, her memory is weak. She thinks she has tricked herself into forgetting, as she pretends to with most events – the time when she dipped 20 rings in bleach, put them in the microwave and burned down her house, or the time when she hid crackers in meat, fed it to a tiger causing the circus owners’ main attraction to explode, or her time abroad in Moscow – oh no, no, she doesn’t remember those, she pretends to not remember those, she wants to forget.

Today Leslie is in an Arts workshop on using lasers to create landscape. “Can anyone tell me what this appliance does?”, the instructor points to one of the machines on the table. Leslie raises her hand. As does Liam.  

Of sex ratios, anniversaries and role models

Surnames are derivative, they give away the most common perceptions about your kind. As informative labels they tell which part of the country you are from, who you have descended from, which strata of the pecking order you belong to. For those of you don’t know, despite what my last name suggests, my blood line originated in the north. My native state is Haryana. Haryana is known for many things, and among one of those many things is its dismal sex ratio. 1000 men for every 879 women[1]. It is not uncommon in the northern part of the country for families to desire a male child. And sometimes that desire is so strong that educated people opt to have an economically nonviable third or fourth or eighth child in the hopes that they will conceive a son. A boy who will take care of his elder 2, or 3 or 7 sisters and his parents.

One night in the year 2005 or 2006, I answered the landline to an over enthused classmate, a girl with two elder sisters, who told me that they had welcomed her younger brother into the family. Yes, she now had a younger brother. They had a boy in the family. I was in class eleventh then. Even back then, I found it to be very amusing. A brother who was 15 years younger to you. Another child when there were already 3 in the family.

A wonderful man I know, is the third child in his family. He comes from Haryana, from the same city that I do. He has two elder sisters. Both are doctors. In the States. I told him once – you know your parents had you only because their older children were girls, right? He said – yes, I know, they love me because I am their precious baby boy.

This conversation annoyed me a little. So, one summer morning in 2015 on the dinning table, I asked my parents – would you have had a third child if my brother was a girl? They started laughing. I said – I am serious, tell me.

My father said – No, we wouldn’t have. We had always planned for two children.

My mother said – you are strange.

My father then went to tell how they had sufficient role models around them, to show them it really doesn’t matter whether you have a boy or a girl. He told me of his many seniors who had had two girl children, and no more. He said it the gender didn’t matter, the number did.

From this little breakfast talk, talks like these are not unusual in our house, the word role model stuck with me.

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It becomes impertinent I think, to have good mentors and good role models in your life. These people, they show you, they become examples of the type of life you want to lead. And once you see that someone is doing it, you can take inspiration from their lives to build your own.

On this day today, 29 years ago, my parents got married. I have grown up seeing them treat each other with love and immense respect. My father knows my mother’s word is the final word. My mother knows when to use that final word. I have seen other couples, even the older ones, argue in public, or say something improper or impolite. I have never seen my parents do that. My father is an honest, hardworking man. My mother is an honest, hardworking woman. And they really like each other a lot. Like a lot. Like, sometimes, I have to tell them – stop being so much in love, its annoying.

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All around me, in this modern day and age, I hear of relationships not working out, of people cheating on their other halves, of marriages ending in divorces, of those that haven’t, being unhappy, of the constant complains that she doesn’t have the time for me, that he doesn’t understand me. I hear people talking about unrequited love, heartbreaks, boring dates, and failed efforts. Another comment, which is often made, and I think which has been popularized by contemporary culture, is that the initial phases of dating and marriage, the cliched honeymoon phase, is the best time of a relationship. That passion, those first-time feelings, that excitement, that craziness, the love songs, the oh I am in love feeling, the butterflies in the stomach… we lived on sunlight and chocolate bars… it was an afternoon of extravagant delight.

Another wonderful man I know, quite recently was telling of the same thing. He had met a gay director/actor/writer(?) and that gay artist, when asked about relationships, had concurred that relationships are the best in the starting.

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I laughed when I heard this. Relationships are not the best in the beginning. No silly. They get better with time. You can talk better, you share more, you do crazier things, you can crack sillier jokes, you can be goofy and weird, you can shout and be loud, you can just be yourself. These are the nice parts. In the bad ones, you know that there is someone who is there no matter what. That that one person believes in you, wishes for the best for you, and cares for you. They will work with you and sometimes they will even work on you. You can be vulnerable. Just this once. It’s safe. It feels like home. On a more practical note, having a companion through ups and downs can make life much easier. It helps you unwind at the end of the day. Life isn’t just about what you do, it is about how you feel. And love is a great source of power. One of the best feelings in the world – to love, and to be loved.

A lot of those around me, are getting married now or will be getting married soon or are already married. Let this serve as an example that you can lead your life with honor and build a beautiful relationship. It might not be easy, but it is simple. Love is wonderful. Protect it. Nurture it. Grow with it.

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[1] Despite of what Khattar says in a recent report, let us go with the 2011 official consensus data.

 

The boy who was born in a book

On a grey Monday morning, with a hat on his head and an umbrella in his hand, a step ahead, another step in front of it, he was walking on the cobbled streets of his town. He pulled his sleeve back, his iWatch 2 showed him that in approximately 7 and 3/4 minutes he would reach the only pub for his kind of people, it also told him that his usual sun-lit seat was ready with his usual order – warm brown coffee and honey-laced waffles. He raised his eyes and smiled a little, he had never thought he would marvel at the wonders of technology.

Magic is lagging behind our times, a tall red-haired man joined him. We need to improvise, just like they did in Episode VII. 

Indeed, our boy-hero nodded.

They walked into the pub. Fewer heads noticed them these days than they did a few years ago, both in pages and in person. Mobiles had worked their ju ju well on humans, even the special ones.

Old men that they were now, they wished the ones they liked and no more. After the customary morning greetings they took their seats in the only sun-lit spot in the pub, saving the world had its benefits.

Nothing like a warm cup of brown coffee on a grey rainy Monday morning, said the red-haired man.

There is something like it, said our boy-hero, in fact something a little better. 

His friend cocked an eye-brow and then broke into his goofy smile, right, right, of course. 

One of the good things in their lives, apart from the warm brown coffee on a grey rainy morning, was the books placed in front of them. They went in print in ’97 and now in ’16, 19 years on, after getting their careers sorted and their children in school, they could finally sit down to read the story of their lives. 

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Brothers on Moon

I have found staying on Moon quite exhausting, it is very different from spending time on Earth. Earth’s atmosphere is quite like home’s, the gravity is about the same too, he said, stepping on a jagged white stone, his face slightly skewed, his eyebrows tense.

His brother lent him a hand and his face broke into a smile as he stepped on flat land.

It is quite colourless too unlike home and your favourite planet. 

He rolled his eyes and hit his brother, as had become his habit, right after they had left his favourite planet and his brother had thought it appropriate to let this become a personal joke between them. (Yes, they were joking now. Things were a little different on Moon.)

The Bifrost takes care of the travel, it has quite no effect on the body, but standing here on the moon, I can feel my body fighting just to stay together, vacuum has never really been my thing.

I thought I would bring her here and that we would have some wine and then dance in the sunlight, with the earth behind us. But the glass will shatter and the wine will float not to forget that she will be in a big white suit. 

Fiction is always more convenient than reality brother.

Yes brother.

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The street side story-teller

Day One

His room is a small room. Dimly lit. Sparsely furnished. In a corner lies a table with a desktop. His bed lies not too far, and as it is with young struggling men, his bed is his sofa and his chair and his dining table.

He is very tired today. Work has been like how work always is. The two-hour ride back home has offered nothing new except a few thoughts, which he has already arranged, voiced, designed and uploaded on his youtube channel.

Today’s video is his 49th video.

He shares this video on all his social media accounts and waits for the game of hits and clicks to begin.

Day Twenty-Two

He quit his job today. Life was going nowhere. No one wanted to listen to his stories.

60 videos.
17 hits.
115 Facebook friends.
13 twitter followers.

On the way back in the crowded train, he saw that every second person was glued to their mobiles. He glimpsed into a few and saw that the people were watching viral videos. How could he be on each one of those screens? How could he tell all these people his stories? How could he make them laugh, cry, think?

He felt defeated. And very soon he would be broke too. With the job gone.

What was he going to do?

I could always get drunk, he thought. And so he did. He got drunk that night. Very drunk.

Night of Day Twenty-Two

Cheap whiskey, so much of it, he had. Cheap shiskey, he laughed, shiskey. Haha.

One step after the other, a random walk, he tried to focus, breathe and remember his way back home. It was dark, late in the night, it was just 10, but in his side of town, in his poor side of town, people were usually in by 8 and by 10 most of the lights were off and on the brick-laden streets in his poor side of town were left the rejects of civil society.

The rejects came to him and they clung to him. Give us money, they said.

Shiskey, he laughed. I will give you something better, he smiled, I will give you the best of me. 

He bought them some food, he sat with them under a fading street light and he told them his stories. His voice roared, it softened, his face changed colors and his eyes came alive. Just like they had in his videos, his videos, which no-one saw, no-one liked, no-one share, no-one commented. But here, the rejects were laughing and crying and shouting and clapping.

A light went on in one of the nearby buildings. A shadow appeared on a window.

When he was done, he cried a little. The rejects hugged him. Come again tomorrow, they said.

Night of Day One Hundred and Seventeen

He stills live in the poor side of town. But he is no longer poor. He no longer takes the train back from work, because his workplace is down the brick-laden street. His home is still sparsely furnished but he no longer makes videos. He still tells his stories though. Every night, he tells them, under the same fading street-light of the night of day twenty-two; every night he tells his stories to not just the rejects of the civil society but to the entire world.

He sits on a chair and they come to him, the people from his poor side of town. They record his stories and they upload his videos.

117 videos.
9,879379 hits
178976 twitter followers.
179870 Facebook Subscribers.

He is on every screen now.


 

A Questionnaire for the Imagineers – Invite List

So I pressed this post from a friend’s blog. It was a questionnaire of a different kind. He had asked some questions which would make you sit down and think, questions which would perhaps even help you place your life in a better, fresher perspective. Here are the questions he had asked –

A Questionnaire for the Imagineers(12 questions)

1. If you wanted to name yourself again, what would it be?
2. If there has to be, what would be the last line of your Biography?
3. Would you like to kiss a complete stranger under the rain or an old friend beside a shore?
4. If you had to choose two famous/historical figures to sit and have coffee with together, who would they be?

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5. If you could pack your bags, leave all behind and be forgotten for a year, where would you go?
6. People with a certain particular talent that you don’t have and wish you could?
7. One thing that always fascinated you and you know it always will.. ?

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8. If god exists and you had to give him one advice, what would it be.. ?
9. What is the sexiest place you can imagine to do it on ?
10. If you had only one hour to live before the world comes to an end, how would you like to spend it?

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11. If you could go back in time and meet yourself in the past for an hour, which year would you go and how would you like to spend the time?
12. If you had to destroy yourself, how would you do it?


Now I am going to tag some fellow bloggers here, people who real names I don’t even know to go ahead and answer this questionnaire. I am really looking forward to your replies.

1. RobertOkaji
2. hbhatnagar
3. Pflead73
4. Sabiscuit
5. Miss Evelyn
6. The V-Pub
7. PlatosGroove
8. Tienny
9. Blissful Nomad
10. Eric
11. DancingPalmTrees
a
nd ofcourse Anattempttounderstand.

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I hope the tags have pulled through and I really hope all of you wonderful bloggers will take sometime, think about these questions and answer them.