The Minar and It’s Ruins

You know how certain spaces suddenly trigger some sort of a flashback from the past? Miscellaneous feelings buried somewhere in your subconscious revive unexpectedly and you feel like you’re reliving a fragment of that memory. That is exactly what this historically rich place did to me, it unlocked a few closed doors from my childhood. I came to think of those relaxed Sunday mornings during school days, waking up early and eagerly waiting for Rangoli to air on Doordarshan at 8. Yes, I fall under that umbrella of the ’90s Indian kids who grew up watching DD. This was one out of the few things that we just couldn’t miss. Watching Bollywood numbers was not just a time pass for us back then, it was a luxury.

While being a regular viewer of this show, one of the many songs that I had fallen in love with was “Dil Ka Bhanwar Kare Pukar” from the 1963 film Tere Ghar Ke Samne. It was supposedly filmed inside a replica set of Qutub Minar and Dev Anand along with Nutan wove magic while climbing down the stairs of the tower. I always fancied myself visiting Qutub Minar someday, climbing down the stairs in a similar fashion and feeling mesmerized. Little did I know that tourists were not permitted to visit the inside of the tower ever since the unfortunate stampede of 1980 befell. Woefully, the yearning of that little girl still remains unfulfilled.

But the silver lining is that, recently, I finally explored the world heritage site known as the Qutub Complex. Here is a glimpse at the Qutub Minar, one of the oldest historical monuments of Delhi from the 12th century, and the elaborate ruins which engulf it, such as Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque, Alai Darwaza, Tomb of Iltutmish, Imam Zamin’s Tomb, Khalji’s Madrasa and the Iron Pillar.

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Another Moment of Self-Doubt

I wrote a verse which did not rhyme
So, I questioned myself, “Would it be appropriate to call it poetry?”

My intellect ran towards discovering a resolution
Then, suddenly, my thoughts fetched me to a conclusion:
“All poems should not be nursery rhymes,
Can’t some reflect the journey of somebody’s life?”

Some poems might seem flawless:
Perfect in their beginning, ending, and everything in between
They might be comparable to a fairy tale,
Portraying a magical, mystery world
Where the Princess and the Prince fall in love
And live “happily ever after”

But all of that is a fabricated fantasy,
Reality does not have a happy ending.

My poem is distorted: composed without a normative structure
Neither a sound, nor a rhythm, or a poetic meter.
Haphazard like my thoughts: travelling miles in a moment
Chaotic like my mind, troublesome like my dismal laments

If my journey is not a soothing song
Then, how can my verse be?

The Right Age to Get Married…What’s That?

[I]

Four friends were sitting in a bar
One girl with three boys, was a little bizarre!
They were talking about some man, who was miserable with babies.
Suddenly, it occurred to the girl
They might be in the same situation in some four to five years,
All in their late-twenties.

So, the girl questioned all the boys:
“When do you think you would get married?”
One friend said there’s a lot of time for that
But it would not be before 28, 29, or 30

She added up the numbers, and boy it was true!
Today they all were 24, and realized that:
Time will fly by really soon.
Just like the past four to five years
That they had all spent together
Finding every opportunity during college years
To be around each other.

Coming back to the story,
The question was thrown back at the girl
One friend asked, “You tell us, what age would it be for you?”
The girl was wiser and had understood
The sham of marriage at 24.
She replied, “Age isn’t the criteria for me,
I’ll know when it’s time.”

[II]

She wanted to have a marriage, not just a fancy wedding
She wanted to be a happy Monica,
And not as miserable as America’s current first lady.
She wanted to be with a Chandler
And not some fucking Trump!

She wished to be with a person who could
Absorb her as she was;
Appreciate all her moles and birth marks.
Dive into her mind and body as deep as it was possible
Consume every cell in her body, and encourage her to be more.

She knew she was the only one who had the right to choose
It would not be on the basis of any norms or age set by the society
It would only be when she wants it to happen.
When she feels that she has found the right person
To share all her good, bad, and ugly moments with
To share her brightest and darkest thoughts with
To share herself as she is.

And even though this person seems too good to be true,
She would not compromise
Because she knows what she wants in life:
And it’s definitely not “not being able to be herself”
While promising to share her complete life with someone else.

Musing in Mussourie

When life gives me lemons, I do not make lemonade! Instead, I take the road to the hills: sticking it up to life and contemplating about those sour elements amid the tranquility of the green, mysterious rocks. Can you think of a better way to deal with all the chaos that surrounds our quotidian life in the city?

The trip to Mussourie was one of those escapes. However, no words could do justice to portray the beauty of the hills or express the goosebumps that I feel while reminiscing the mesmerizing landscape of this serene hill station.

Therefore, I’m curating some of the best shots captured during my exploration.

 

Finding the Lost

Holly: I get so afraid sometimes… Our life’s never gonna start.

Gerry: No, baby. We’re already in our life. It’s already started. This is it. You have to stop waiting, baby.

P.S. I Love You

While Holly Kennedy might have been waiting for her life to start only after she manages to have a bigger apartment and the security that she desired within her marriage, most of us are waiting for something too. Irrespective of where we currently stand in our lives, we’ve all set a benchmark for ourselves. We feel that once we cross it, only then our life will start and everything that follows will be a cake walk. For instance, if we’re working, we want to quit our jobs and explore other options or pursue higher education. On the other hand, if we’re studying, we want to start working as soon as possible, because honestly speaking: we’re tired of living off our parent’s money! Single people might believe that the blooming of a love affair would fill that void; while the ones probably in their late twenties deem that getting married is how their “real” life will commence. And the permutations and combinations to this list are infinite.

Despite all our assumptions of what might possibly lead us to achieve that state of nirvana, are we really sure of this “one” thing that will satiate our hunger and truly liberate us? The Lost Generation, in the historical context, might refer to the one that came of age during World War I, but are we, the “Millennial”, not lost? They struggled with the consequences of the war raging outside. We, contrastively, incessantly fight our inner battles, day after another. We scuffle to unravel the mystery of what we desire; that one thing which will keep us high in our spirits for eternity.

When I got the opportunity to work in my company, I was so overwhelmed by the very news of being chosen, that I labelled it as my “dream job”. I had a lot of apprehensions too, about working, because I was just a graduate, and clearly wanted to pursue higher education. People kept confusing me by saying once you start working, the reward of a constant income becomes an addiction and it will be tough to quit. Nevertheless, I followed the whispers of my heart and took a leap of faith. However, within six months, reality struck me like thunderbolt. Nothing was dreamy about this job, it had become mundane. So, I strategized that I will work for two good years, acquire the experience of working in a corporate milieu, and in the meanwhile figure out what my passion is and toil towards accomplishing it.

It’s been two years and I still haven’t been able to decipher how I want my career to pan out. All this while, the only thing that’s been recurring in my head is that this job has been devouring every possible dream that I could have worked upon and the effort that I could have invested in doing something meaningful that I genuinely believe in, as opposed to something completely unsatisfactory. I know two years is a lot, and you must be wondering why I haven’t quit yet? Well, that’s because I’m not sharing my success story, I’m sharing the journey of being lost and still being in the pursuit of discovering myself.

I don’t like work—no man does—but I like what is in the work—the chance to find yourself. Your own reality—for yourself not for others—what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.

—Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

I have always admired these words of Conrad since the day I first read them, but their true meaning I have discovered lately. Through this work experience, I have gradually figured out the reality for myself and ascended towards the first step of solving the quest of self-discovery. I have fathomed that it is not just money that would quench my thirst. I truly wish to experience the sense of fulfilment that one achieves in the work that they’re doing. I’m not saying I have unscrambled what will provide me that contentment, but I definitely know what won’t. The good thing is that I’m not a Jon Snow anymore 😉

However, somewhere along this journey, I have also made peace with the fact that the hunt of finding oneself is never ending. We are the generation which believes that “change is the only constant”. We lay our faith in experiencing the unexplored and overcoming our fears by taking risks.

The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

—Mark Zuckerberg

It is given that every risk that you take is an opportunity to learn something new. Hence, even though my job is not a dream job, I still do not, even for once, regret having taken that decision; because, no matter how unfulfilling it might seem, it has taught me some major life lessons and acquainted me to a different world altogether. Therefore, what I’m trying to convey here is that your risks might be a failure, but they will never be futile! They will be worth a million struggles and a zillion experiences.

So let us all make the most out of what we have in the present and keep gambling. We just need to concentrate every positive charge of our psyche and have the faith that lights will guide us to our destination. And who knows? Eventually, we’ll end up finding ourselves like Holly Kennedy did!

The Hypocrisy of the Social Order

This is my first blog post and it’s gonna be about “heteronormativity.” Big word, eh? Well, I thought so too, the first time I learned about it. But gradually it became so simple to understand, all thanks to the way its meaning was communicated. There’s a reason why I chose to write about this for my first blog, and that’s because this was one of the first few discussions in my first semester of studying literature (while discussing “Lihaaf,” Ismat Chughtai) that completely transformed my perception towards the society we co-exist with. Our society wants us to “act” in a certain way, because those are the “norms” created by who? Society! Our society wants us to dress up in a certain way, portray ourselves in a certain way. Well, if that wasn’t enough, it wants us to also “have sex” in a certain way! It provides us with a prescribed manual of who to have sex with (the opposite gender), why to have sex (to make a baby), and when to have sex (after marriage, duh!).

Let’s talk about the social norm projected for human beings. We are homo-sapiens, yet, we are supposed to be “heterosexuals.” Do you spot the irony here? How “homo” and “hetero” simultaneously describe us? Well, that’s not all the irony that exists. Have you noticed the contradiction that how if you’re attracted towards the “opposite sex,” you’re straight? Last time I checked, didn’t “straight” mean going in the same direction? But when it comes to sex, it means being a hetero. *Slow claps for society.* We know what you did there! You just changed the meaning of words as per your convenience.

Now moving on to the word “gay.” When did the word, which means “happy,” start emanating such a negative connotation? How confused are we? Why can’t gays be a regular part of the society? Just because they don’t reproduce? How dumb are we to notice how that will be such a huge favor to everyone? How being heterosexual has led to the population of the world being more than 7.5 Billion? That’s a mammoth number to cater to. Aren’t all the world problems augmenting due to population growth? Can’t we just be thankful to homosexuals for getting out of the closet, and encourage more to do so?

Not only the world is affected, but imagine how damaging it can be for a person to be with a woman, when every nerve in his body is telling him to kiss the man he’s attracted to and share his life with him. I remember watching Brokeback Mountain, and thinking how the protagonists Ennis and Jack not only live their lives in suffering, but also inflict that pain on their respective partners of the opposite sex.

You got no fuckin idea how bad it gets. I’m not you. I can’t make it on a couple a high-altitude fucks once or twice a year. You’re too much for me. Ennis, you son of a whoreson bitch. I wish I knew how to quit you.

—Jack Twist, Brokeback Mountain

Not only this, when I watched Moonlight, I realized how difficult it is to grow up with your inhibitions and being mocked and bullied over and over again for who you are.

Therefore, all I want to say is:

Dear Society,

Your norms are the greatest disaster to the world. High time you start realizing it. You need to grow up, look around, and analyze what’s best for us as human beings. Only then, you and I can co-exist!

P.S. Cheers to the gay club!

You’re not a shame, you’re a gem.

You’re not a curse, you’re a miracle.

You rock, for having the courage to be yourself!

(Because most of us are hypocrites!)