Recently I had a chance to collaborate with Smriti Gautam on a project with subject that we share a mutual interest for- women and the overpowering emotions.
Here is a glimpse of a very strong emotion- insecurity, that women face often and how they deal with it or choose to live with it.
A birth mark that looks a lil’ uncanny A beauty spot in place revealing which feels funny Scars from the everyday battle called life Etched on my skin is my story. Gazing at the color- The pensive pigments and frivolous freckles I see myself from a stranger’s eyes The eyes with a shattering voice caging me in notions of beauty Peeping at the mirror- I stand, I quiver, I introspect A narrative of glory was written only to be trapped in qualms of unfortunate desire Alas! I cover most of it- Forging a smile attempting to embrace silence of my skin.
Days, weeks, months and years pass I question who am I- I discover many talents and some experiences worth tooting Only. If only, I had the courage to stand tall with no fear of those wretched eyes and unkind voices Alas! I stand covering myself in a piece of cloth constantly feeling naked. The day I break away from the chains of being wanted The moment I learn to savour my unconventional beauty That day shall my skin recite the glorious tale of “becoming” Till then I’ll stumble upon zones beyond comfort wishing to nurture who I am.
A big thanks to Smriti Gautam and all the lovely ladies who shared a piece of themselves and their stories with us.
Oh he is 6 feet 3. Appropriately built, athletic, dimple on his chin, curly hair, smirky smile and prettiest eyelashes- a fashion illustration walking in real life! I come across him at the gym almost everyday- Monday to Friday 4 to 6pm, Saturday around 2pm and I haven’t been there on any Sunday. Every time we cross by a rom-com followed by an awkwardly wide blushing smile starts taking form but thankfully, just in my head. I could bet he was a model and my stalking skills affirmed it. I found him on Instagram. He might not be aware of my existence on social media but he wasn’t unaware of the real life version of me. We exchanged glances several times and the lucky days were when we would do alternate sets on the same equipment. We had the most meaningful and deep conversations where I would ask if we could go alternatively and he would sweetly (read bluntly) reply ‘No, let me get done first’. Yikes! He’s rude and that’s hot. Anyway, that was my cue to stop dreaming of him.
No, crushes don’t mean to stop ever. ‘Stop’ here translates to obsess with him and dream exaggeratedly of him even when wide awake. After crushing on him for around a life long of five months we finally matched on some dating app. I wished for it but wasn’t expecting that. We started texting. He would not reply in more than three to four words. That meant he either had string of girls drooling over him or just didn’t find me good enough. Anyway he asked for my number. He hadn’t shown up at the gym since a few weeks but now if he did- man! it would be awkward. He asked if I would like to meet him. I would love to! But what would we even talk about in three or four words. I might be able to hold my impulse over texts but in reality, I TALK. We decided to meet on a Sunday and when it arrived I felt almost stood up because he had gone several kilometres away and didn’t text in the morning. So I carried on with my usual Sunday schedule- sleeping. A text popped around 3pm and it said let’s meet in the park near the lake anytime I was free. His kilometres were now back to the usual. Cool! But park is a weird place for a date. When I was almost going to prioritise my Sunday sleep another text dropped and it said ‘You play badminton, right?’. I jumped out of the bed, got dressed for a badminton date (not too sporty, not too lady-like) and met him in an hour.
Damn! He was beautiful. He had made no attempt to dress up yet looked magnificent. We started looking for a place to keep my handbag away and play the game. We even had bit of a conversation which made me realise he wasn’t uninterested he just wasn’t a very good talker. He struggled to frame his sentences right. We played for over an hour continuously and he was pretty good at it while I was bearable. We exchanged our general where abouts over the game itself. He even taught me more about the game. It was truly fun. I had never been on such a date before. Then it was time for me to leave. He walked me out and suddenly he realised that he had lost his house keys. We got back in park and tried finding it for a while before giving up.
I reached home and received a text from him that he had a wonderful time and would like to meet again sometime. I concurred. The next day I received a text from him that read ‘I am getting harmonal disbalance’. I was a little confused so asked him ‘What?’. To this he replied, ‘Don’t you go through the harmonal disbalance?’. Now I was clear about what his ‘hormones’ desired. Somehow his desire was understood but it was his way of expressing that was such a disappointment. So much of obsession, such an amazing game and this is how it ends! I shouldn’t have dreamt of kissing him while I zoned out in a class. I was definitely scared of my karma but you gotta do what you gotta do. Therefore, I started ghosting him off course after taking the wise advice from my friends who were aware of the intensity I wanted to scream with.
After a few days while emptying my bag I found the single key to his appartment. I was obliged to inform him that as a responsible human.
P.S: I still have that key lying somewhere around my apartment.
After years of dodging; every occasion with a more bitter excuse Finally came a day when somehow the visit just couldn’t be refused From far away, that house in village stood still and tall Now haunted with lifelessness On inside did it suddenly grow small? Or was it the memory of it that brimmed with grandeur? The windows creak The walls reek Spiders smile weaving a trap of nostalgia The garden once full of roses and lemons is now musty; Haunted by emptiness somehow braved through my grandmother’s beliefs- Evident by the statue of Shiva I remembered since I could remember; Survived lessons from my cousins teaching me to play games- While I stood there being timid, young and shy.
Monkeys in the yard My aunt’s smirky remarks Talking to uncles altogether a hurdle- I knew I never would fit in there, Now affirmed. Yet the lullaby from past lingered longer Singing to me of a wish why did I let go so easy- So early at an age so tender! Alas! Now it is too late to return Only reminscence, what hath been done cannot be undone.
Dear ALMOST discarded clothes, They say vanity is shallow yet turn to it for rescue when in vain. We are made to believe that work, career and money are supposed to be the primary priorities and attire is completely secondary or even a little beneath that. But aren’t these secondary objectives the reason to prioritize the more meaningful ones? We experience that intellect stands with us throughout while beauty fades. But isn’t it because we let go a little too easy? Why can’t the two be in a symbiotic relationship? This is the reason for you adding colours in my wardrobe and my life. The humble garments with a varying touch of fabrics had brought an utopia of its own kind to me. You have allowed me to be flattered of who I am and made me believe that I can be whomever I wish to be. You have made me feel pretty when a guy would comfort me for being ugly and showed me the mirror when I was too overwhelmed with my bold sartorial experiments. Those floral bras have supported me when nothing else was in place! My mother’s saree draping me with her nurturing tenderness had inspired me to care a bit more. Those socks, scarves, mufflers borrowed from friends never really meant to be returned open the doors enabling me to relive the several thousand memories and remind me of how I have a part of them in my own persona. The brother’s T-shirts meant to be worn out in the gym have made me feel loved and empowered simultaneously. Dad’s shoes have always been too big to fit in. The sweater from ex-boyfriend would never go well with any of the dresses yet it lies somewhere in a corner, at times tearing me apart. You may never get the credit for standing through thick and thin with me but somewhere unknowingly and without any need for acknowledgement you were giving me reasons to take care of myself.
My mother had been asking me to get rid of you since ages but looks like I can’t let you go. You have been a part of my evolving personality since a child who didn’t care of what to wear to a snobbish teenager, a girl in her twenties trying every bit to be a lady, a woman in her thirties who would realize she now is a rebel, another one in her forties who would question was everything worth it, one in her fifties drenched in nostalgia of youth and in her sixties a little content with herself because- she would have seen it all. How would bidding goodbye not be a matter of heartbreak? The time changes and so does the trend. Even if I choose to be a fashion laggard in the name of “experimental fashion”, you don’t fit me anymore. Hence, there is no way I can style you any further. Don’t worry, I won’t let you suffer with my younger cousins even when I am bombarded with the idea of responsible sustainable fashion as a trick reminder by my mother. I apologize for the times when I demeaned you and chased after the ones in stores and online even when you were in the best of condition. Sorry for differentiating amongst you based on brands. Sorry for thinking that you were not enough at times. My dad has blamed you for wastage of money but secretly you were giving me lessons on how to save for a reason. No matter how old we grow, howsoever we ignore each other I’ll always love you and know that you’ll always be there for me even if it has to be a different silhouette or a new form altogether. Love, The girl you own.
A pretty lady with thoughts gruesome
A heart lady-like but deeds one and all unkind
She looked fear in face-
No act of medallion or an attempt of being brave;
The mere trouble that she craved.
A wish to leave it all behind
Yet a victim of trauma and memory that she cherished and longed to embrace
Each day a new person aids her introspect the vacillating soul
Better or worse- she doesn’t realise upon dusk or dawn.
She’s curious, not lost
She’s not damaged, just hurt
She seeks muse, not love
She’s tired, not afraid
She is heartbroken, not disappointed;
Or is this all she speaks to put herself to sleep each passing night?
Can I tell you a secret,
Even if my lips promised the head to keep mum?
Can I narrate you a story,
Even though I don’t want you to recognise the fiction reeking with reality?
Can I sing you a song,
Even if the music can’t hide the shenanigan beneath the happy lyrics?
Can I look into your eyes,
Even when mine would let you glance through the tears I have been holding back?
Can I say all the promises I make are mere words,
Even if I stay wide awake making the ends meet?
Can I walk you across that one dreaded street,
Even if it ends amidst the unkempt memory lane?
Can I show you all my fears,
Even if I won’t be able to mend you for eternity; followed by those beautiful years?
Can I paint you a picture,
Even if I wish to mask the vision blurry?
Can I write you a letter,
Even when the words fain to lead towards the true expression?
Can I leave a mark,
Even if you wish to flaunt you’ll embrace it hidden?
Can I say the rose on my cheek is newly bought,
Even when your presence does that to me?
Can- I – Can – I – Can; but-
Alas! I better keep that secret.