Tuesday, August 30, 2011


When I was very young, more than ten years ago, I wrote a poem that a friend and his rock band later turned into one of those opeth-type depressed metal songs. It's running around in my head today. It was called Futility, and it still makes me cringe. But it's speaking to me today. At least part of it.

I cannot speak
Trapped in a bubble
Tears sting my eyes
I cannot fight
I can see it all
The ground rushing up to meet me
Nothing can break this crashing fall
But it never ends
Deeper into the pit
Bottomless black pit
Screaming in terror
Soundless screams
Beating the walls of my mind
Trying to break free

I don't know why the abyss is always so close these days, or why I keep coming back here to talk about it. I don't want to--I'd like to write about real things, not my own perceived and fairly unwarranted angst and despair. But I can't.

Maybe I'm here because the blog-space is the first space I ever felt free to be me in. Maybe because of the unconditional support I have had from all these strangers who know me so intimately, people I have never met who still reach out and send me virtual hugs. Maybe because when I'm typing here, my voice cannot break, and no one will hear my sobs or see my tears. Maybe because I can let myself be self-indulgent, because in the real world I have no reason for such sorrow.

It makes me feel better to think that someone, one person, will hear me. Maybe if one person could hear me say these words of fear and despair, words I cannot physically say, it will ease the weight they put upon me.

What happened to me today?
My niece is talking up a storm. She says words in Spanish, that she learns in daycare. I haven't heard her ay one word. I haven't seen her, even on skype, in a month. That little warm squirming squealing creature does not know me, and some days she is the only thing that makes me smile.
The Dragon has decided to take sides after all--or at least she's ignoring that only thing I asked her to do: not share the "BEAR" love on facebook. She has also not called me or reached out to me in any way. Part of me wants to make her admit it, make her see what she has done. But part of me knows that she never will admit she has done anything wrong. And a third part of me knows that I might not be able to deal with it when it is confirmed that yes, she would rather have him in her life than me.
My boss is being a bit annoying--which every boss is entitled to be, and nothing near the scale of annoying bosses can be. But I care so very much. Because this job, that pays me a pittance, this job is supposed to be what I get from my life and my choices. This job is supposed to make up for not having enough money to think of saving, for not being solvent enough to contemplating adopting kids this year, next year, or even the year after.

If you make all the unusual choices, if you take the road not taken, isn't the point that you will be happy because you're not stuck in the same rut as everyone? Is my road not taken still too taken? Is this really as good as it gets?

Should I give up,
Or should I just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere,
Or would it be a waste?
Even If I knew my place should I leave it there?
Should I give up,
Or should I just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere

All the things they tell you about what you can be and where you can go--it's bullshit. Sometimes, you end up twenty-nine, lost and alone. And you know what, that's as good as it gets.

Maya Angelou

Says it so much better than I can.

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's getting quite cosy in here

At the bottom of my hole.

I realise that I have spent most of the last year in it, whichis possibly why it's all warm and familiarly bleak and desolate.

I’ve always been a kind of put yourself out there person—holdingback is something I’ve tried and failed at on several occasions. The mostmemorable was one that ended in such depression that I scared the watchman bycrying all night and he called my mum, who came home early from a trip. Therapyand changes to my life later, I realised that there was no point fighting who Iam: an open-hearted person who can’t really say no and can’t demand certainbehaviour from people. No, I’m not a little martyr, but frankly, if you have toask a friend to respect your feelings, then they’re not really much of a friendto you after all.

I try to see the other person’s point of view; I try toaccept their choices and let them choose how they will be with me, and I hopeearnestly that they will do right by me. A sort of do-as-you-would-be-done-byphilosophy. I wonder if there’s any point to it sometimes, but I know I can’t adoptdo-as-you-were-done-by strand of thought. I guess, for me, the lodestone isthis: when I look back at how I behaved in ten years’ time, will I be ashamed ofwhat I did and/or said? I’m not saying I always succeed, but I like to thinkthat I have always done right by the people I care about. I don’t always agreewith them, but I support them and I play by the rules of our friendship.

Sometimes, people screw up. When I care about them, I can’thelp but give them second chances, third chances, forty-fourth chances. Like I didwith BBot. Like I did with OOF. Sometimes I wonder if that’s the wrong way tobe. Should I simply stand firm on the one strike and you’re out principle? Willit save me from hurt and anger and loneliness? But then, if everyone is out onone strike, won’t I be lonely anyway? So where to draw the line? I have neverknown where to draw the line.

Maybe I embrace people too easily. As the Glare puts it, Igotta hike up my standards! Even Appa agrees, as he told me when I was sobbing onthe phone with them last night. You’re a warm and welcoming person, he said.But sometimes maybe you’re too welcoming. Sometimes you should hold back.

Ah if I had a dollar for every time someone’s said that tome. I might be able to adopt kids tomorrow.

But it’s not who I am, I insist. I am a loving person;I can’t hold back. It’s worth it for all the wonderful people I have in mylife. I might have a bad score for percentage of bad boyfriends, but it’s adecent score on the relative scale of horrible boyfriends. And I might have hadfriends desert me several times in my life, but it’s a decent score when youlook at the percentage of people I have in my life.

And yet, I am alone, and my ex-boyfriend is more important to my belovedfriend of eight years than I am.

I must be doing something wrong, no?

No, says Appa. You are doing nothing wrong. There is nothingwrong with you. You are smart and strong, and you will find your way.

What would I do without my parents?

And then he made me laugh, because he said this when we weretalking about my inability to find love. “Sometimes it’s difficult in your lifebecause you can’t find enough people of the opposite sex, or, as the case maybe, the same sex. But it will come to you in time.”

Yes, my crusty father, with his bizarre flashes of extreme authoritarianconservatism, told me he’ll support me if I’m gay.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A sigh is just a sigh

The strangely un-sad yet painfully wistful realization of today.

Sometimes you want to come home to someone.
Sometimes you want to bury your face in a neck and breathe deeply.

Sometimes you want to hear 'Gnight baby, I love you' as you fall asleep.

And if you've never been in a relationship, you don't know how much you can miss it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

So much for posting regularly!

It *was* a long weekend. And a very social week. Followed by a vilely PMSey Tuesday. Anyway, the Bride has post up about bag so I am following.

I have this lovely orange sling bag that I bought, funnily enough. while visiting the Bride in HK. It's now three and a half years old. The main zip has been replaced. Last week, two more zips died. I gave up and started using another one. It breaks my heart, because I LOVE that bag. It has exactly the right pocket ratio; it slings across my giant expanse; it's seemingly bottomless and yet quite compact; it's waterproof!!! And, did I mention, it's orange??

Anyway, the replacement is boring black faux leather, but more capacious. Visibly so. It's one of those armpit bags that nestles in your armpit and this immobilizes one shoulder.

In it at the mo:
  1. Book. Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur. Young adult fiction--nice so far.
  2. Bag hook in its case. (This is a lovely thing that only works if you have a non-sling bag, or at least one that can be made to have a short strap. you put one end of this u-shaped object on a tabletop, and the other hangs below as a hook for your bag! First seen with Spanish Friend, and then late given as birthday present by Scoo's friend.)
  3. Wallet. Red, faux leather, and large. What's in it we shall leave for another post.
  4. Bottle of Moroccan Rose spray.
  5. Sunglasses in their red chinese silk case, acquired on same trip as orange bag.
  6. Case for non-sun glasses--black chinese silk.
  7. iPod
  8. Earphones (okay, technically they're currently spewing Dave Brubeck into my ears off Grooveshark.)
  9. Purple pen, blue gel pen and blue ballpoint pen
  10. Nailfile
  11. Nailcutter
  12. Keys to house
  13. Keys to office things (appropriately on keychain with wooden penguin on it).
  14. Assorted clips of various types and sizes.
  15. Comb (which I use once ever six months or so. Yeah, sue me.)
  16. Dupatta--to keep hair from turning to Puttaparthi Sai Baba and allergies from closing nasal passages. Occasionally to shelter the ladies from the penetrating stares of Delhi's male population.
  17. Pills
  18. Tiny LED torch
  19. Kajal, eyeliner, lipstick, lip pencil, lip balm (I only ever use the lip balm and the kajal. Still, just in case...)
  20. Fan. (Batik and bamboo, from Bali. Saves my LIFE on a regular basis. People start out laughing at me, but an hour later they're begging to sit next to me or to borrow it.)
  21. Cellphone charger.
  22. Empty lunch box.
If I'd done this yesterday, I'd have had my dancing shoes on that list!

Missing today:
Mosquito repellent. Lotion. Hand mirror. Pen drives. Lacto-calamine lotion.

This bag just doesn't have enough pockets! It's so annoying--I miss knowing exactly where to put my hand to find something.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


The past few weeks I've seen a few arty-type interesting-looking boys toting camera equipment walking busily around our market downstairs. Then, a new storefront, that I can see from the stairs as I hoof it up to the second floor where I work, came into being, freshly painted with this lovely red shutter. I was convinced the two were connected. One day last week, Favourite Colleague (FC) and I were mooching around the front of the office drinking chai, and I saw that the shutter was up, and a very lovely dark wood and glass door was visible.

'Oooo they've opened,' I said. 'I'm dying to find out what they do. I'm so tempted to pootle over and stick my head in and say hi, not to be creepy or anything, but I've been watching you set up and I'm dying to know what you guys do.'
'Well, why don't you?' asked FC.

I didn't have a reply really, so I roped him in and we pootled over. On first peek the inside had what appeared to be some sort of class, with people sitting on the floor around one person, and all their shoes were near the door. We concluded that it was some random class-type thing and nearly didn't go in. Then we decided that no, we should go in, just to ask. It turned out to be a rather interesting photography printing place, (which also turned up on my facebook page yesterday, how spooky is that?) and the interesting looking boys who owned it were photographers! So we had a nice chat and I fangirlishly promised to keep coming back and so on.

Last Monday, at an alcoholic launch, I did the same thing, and ended up befriending a woman who teaches in a college here, another woman who writes on spirituality, and then four girls who do design and suchlike things, and a very pretty English boy who works in publishing.

What makes this remarkable is that I haven not done something like this--make friends with total strangers--since college. I can't say why, but it's a side of me that I thought had sunk into oblivion--for whatever reasons. Since I came to Delhi it's been even harder. But it seems that the Inner Kitteh, as it were, is resurfacing. Rejoice ye all, and hide ya who fear the person who befriends you regardless ;) It is such a great feeling; I feel like I am coming back to life (ugh for the phrasing), and fulfilling all the promise of who I really am.

Monday, August 08, 2011


Since it's happening next year, and I'm planning great Plans for it, I thought I should make a bucket list. I have done a post along these lines in the past, but this here is the real deal, standing solo and not in comparison to something I wanted at oh twenty-two. (Aw geez was I *ever* that young ;))
  1. Learn to scuba dive
  2. Take photos underwater
  3. Become fluent in one of the following: Hindi, Tamil, Urdu, German or Russian
  4. Take a cruise (monetary circumstances being what they be, methinks this won't happen till thirty-five. But one can hope.)
  5. Bake foccacia and pita bread
  6. Take a road trip. Anywhere. Any length. But you know, a road trip. This might end up being part of the birthday plans, a la Zindagi Milegei Na Dobara (or is it the other way round and this from the Rock On song?)
  7. Settle down. Stop twitching frantically at everything in sight. Seriously, calm the fuck down.

Cheap Thrills

On Friday, I had something happen that hasn't in a very long time. A boy, whom we shall call Overachiever on account of his, well, overachieving past, picked me up, took me to dinner and then drove me home.

But surely this is hardly an event of note, you might cry, Gentle Reader.

The thing is, it kind of is.

To begin with, my over assertive independence means that I don't usually ask for rides, unless it's really late or totally on someone's way. Second, I don't know a lot of people with cars in Delhi--the only ones have been girls so far. Third, Delhi being the size it is, and my own laziness and poverty being what they are, I'm usually asking people to come to my house and drink cheap whiskey.

Anyway, the thing with this boy is that the last time we hung out, surprising--to me at any rate, since I had no idea he was so inclined--events transpired. Not very many, and since I'm trying to neither talk nor think about this situation (and failing on both counts) I shall stop there. The idea was that we go get drinks and dinner, and since it was late I asked him for a ride home. At which point he said, yeah I'll pick you up too. And thus, there I was, at 8.45pm, running down the stairs from salsa class to jump into a car that was waiting for me downstairs, with the air conditioning running, and smelling of cigarette smoke, driven by a smiling boy in work clothes.

It really took me back back back to before BBot and I were dating, when he did give me the occasional ride, and of course, back to when we were dating, and he always drove me everywhere. Maybe that's why the very fact of being picked up, and then being dropped off, as close as possible to the stairs to my flat, and then running up the stairs after a quick goodbye hug, felt so disproportionately gleeful.

And no, I don't know if it was a date. It could have been one, but only the context of those events.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

How to make sure your female friends never introduce you to their hot friends

I have this friend. He's all of 24, very sweet; one of the nicest people I know. I haven't talked to him in a long time, and when I did today, I told him I've moved and have a new flatmate. Girl or boy? he asks. Girl, I say. Is she hot? he asks.

Why oh why does every straight single guy I know do this?
This being ask me about my friends, right off, in terms of their hotness. I mean, more relevant questions would be is she nice? Is she funny? Is she easy to get along with? But no, apparently the most important thing about my having new flatmate has nothing to do with our interactions, but with the faint possibility that there might, someday, be a chance to tap that.

Wednesday Guy did this too. He was in Bangalore and, while chatting with me about friends there etc, he asked me if I knew any hot chicks in Bangalore. Which was stupid of him, because my immediate reaction was, well, if I did, there's no way I'm introducing you now you shallow pervert, because clearly, all you want is to find hot chicks you can tap, and aren't interested in conversation, company or friendship.

Okay, maybe I'm overreacting a bit, but seriously. What do you think I'm going to say? Yes, these are my hot friends, go and be creepy with them?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Too Independent?

While moving house this weekend, several people offered to help. One actually did (most kindly, even though she was sick, she drove the thirty kilometres to my house and bullied me into actually packing), but I had declined most offers. When I went to one friend's house for dinner on Saturday, he asked me if I'd manage, since he was one of the people who promised help--but in the way he wanted to, which was coming to oversee the movers in the evening, regardless of the fact that I was moving in the morning--and wasn't going to deliver.

I looked at him and said, of course I'll manage. I always manage; what's your point? I've always moved house by myself. (Except when I was living with dragonfly, when she and her then boy helped. But even then. I just benefited from her presence cos her boy was helping her.)

He looked a bit shocked and said, maybe you're too independent.

It's a lesson I've learned well now: I'd better be able to do it myself because what's the alternative when people let you down? Curl up in a ball and refuse to move? The only people I know will always be there for me, regardless of anything else, the people who I can call at 2am and say please, come and help me pack up my glasses, and they will come, are my parents. And Scoo, of course.

But it made me think about it. I realise that I wasn't quite as cynical about this pre-BBot. (Hee shall I create my version of BCE and CE: BBB and ABB?) I put a lot of pressure on that relationship, maybe because people have let me down in the past, and I somehow thought that a boyfriend wouldn't--surely it's in the job description? I guess some teenage and early-twenties relationship experience would have helped eh?

When I was moving house in 2009--about four and a half months into our relationship--BBot swore he'd dedicate the entire weekend to helping me pack and move. He was buying my couch off me as well, so he'd come and oversee movers for that, etc. My parents asked me if they should keep the weekend free to help, but I blithely told them there was no need; I'd got it--my friends, more importantly, my boyfriend, would help.

The Friday before the move, there was a mad house party. As I've said in the past, BBot didn't make much effort to get to know my friends, especially at that point. I knew that it would end up being like a frat party, with everyone completely smashed and behaving outrageously. I also knew that he would neither indulge in that kind of behaviour nor enjoy watching other people do it. I told him. He insisted on coming anyway. Predictably, he did not have fun. He got increasingly upset as the night went by, and I got increasingly drunk and crazy. We got home, and the next morning he wouldn't look me in the eye or talk to me. I tried very hard to coax out of him what the problem was--I figured he'd felt excluded and rejected and was upset. He yelled at me, telling me that I was crazy. We were all behaving like spoiled college kids. Didn't we realise we were adults and should behave like adults? Grow up! he exhorted me. I was pretty hurt, so I got angry and told him that he was being ridiculously judgemental, and I had told him not to come! He left. I didn't hear from him for two days--the two days he was supposed to be helping me move.

I called my mum and ran home to be fed and cossetted a bit, and she came back with me to help me pack. My dad came with the movers and oversaw them and took the truck back home with all the stuff. I made two trips to my new place with my stuff, and dumped it. Eventually, BBot showed up, with his flatmate, to collect the couch. I was thinking wtf dude? He skulked about and muttered to me how he felt left out and alienated by my friends, and he was sorry he hadn't answered the phone or even called me, but he really did need the space.

That might have been the beginning of the end. We managed to drag it on a while though eh?

The effect this incident had was twofold.

First, that's the first time in my adult life that I had fully put my trust in a guy, and he crashed that plane well. Second, that was the first time I had put all my belief in our relationship and he kinda pooped on it. Especially because he kept saying it was my fault for taking him to that party. I don't think I was ever able to put that much faith in him and his commitment to our relationship ever again, which is why he probably felt he was not man enough for me etc etc.

The thing is, the universe gives women very contradictory signals. On the one hand, you're not supposed to put expectations on people because then you'll be disappointed and it'll be your own fault. On the other hand, women must be frail and delicate and need men. You may say I'm simplifying it, but even if one looks at the middle ground--be self-sufficient, but don't be incapable of asking for help--once you've been let down enough times, regardless of emotional effect, you kind of just get used to doing it on your own because it would never get done otherwise. Also, some sorts of gender-based divisions of labour are hard to incorporate in your life simply because you do live on your own for a long time before there is a man to kill the spiders or change the tyres*. You can't live your life unable to do these things until a guy comes along! And once you're in the habit of doing it yourself, you're in the habit. It's hard to change. The older you get, the harder it gets. Of course, one hopes that the older they get the less men care about this stuff. I'll keep you posted on that.

I do know women, like Dragon, who are totally capable but manage to exude this aw-pore-lil-me thing that has men flocking to drive them places, buy their drinks, carry their bags and help them with this, that and the other. I just can't do it. What you see is what you get. Growing up, Amma taught us to be self-sufficient--always be able to carry your luggage on your own. Learn to change tyres and lightbulbs. Try doing it on your own first!--and so I had to learn to ask for help.And once I did, I found it's harder to deal with help being refused or, worse, promised and then denied, than with just having to take care of yourself. So I can't deny that a large amount of my independence has more to do with fear of those two things than with actually being self-sufficient. Deep inside, I *do* want to be able to sit back and rely on someone. I just don't want to deal with the crashes, or even test a relationship that much.

*Completely random choices; I realise there are many kinds of roles and thingies. substitute whatever works for you.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Unsolicited Advice

Expanding on the life lessons from before, here's a pithy phrase to keep in mind when you're breaking up with someone.

If it doesn't make you feel better, don't do it.
Regardless of how much better it makes them feel.

You're both going to be bad guys, so don't lie down and be a doormat. Give yourself sympathy. Breakups ARE shitty.  That's kind of the unavoidable innate nature of them, and you can't make it happy and sweet and kind. Don't try.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Circumstantial Infertility

I was at a dinner party at a friend's on Saturday, where someone brought their insanely adorable 18-month-old daughter. Half French and half Mizo, that girl was too much. She was cranky as hell, because it was past her bedtime, but I managed to coax her out of it, and we had so much fun. My friend, the host, who loves kids too, was very miffed that she took to me, because she doesn't like him much. Cheap thrills. He asked me how I was so good with kids? And I said, I dunno, maybe I was born to be a mother?

At this moment, two of my closest friends have kids, Scoo has a kid (aka the Centre of my Universe, or Her Ladyship), and six people I know are going to have em in the next six months.

It's a very strange time for me. I love all these women (well the ones I know well at any rate), and I'm so happy for them. But it also really hurts every so often, because all I have EVER wanted was to have kids, and I haven't the faintest prospect at the moment. I even think that one of the reasons I have don't have a Career is because I don't care enough about anything more than I do about raising a family. Perhaps the cooking ties into this too, and perhaps that's why cooking is something that does inspire me.

Don't get me wrong, I have no illusions about how exhausting and difficult it is or about how much it can swallow you up, emotionally, physically and mentally. I know it's not roses and kittens. But there's something about kids. They love me; I love them. Maybe because I am not at all self-conscious about 'behaving like a child.' When I'm around a kid I have a legit excuse!

Anyway, the Bride pointed me to this lovely piece, where I got the title of this post from. I wish more people would write things like this, so people have to think about what happens between the cracks. And so they stop saying 'Oh you've got tons of time!' There's only as much time as you want there to be before you start feeling it's too late. If feminism is about choice, then what happens to those who choose they want children? All the freedom means someone like me--who might have had an arranged marriage and kids by now in a different time, and been perfectly happy--is wandering around in circles and questioning her sense of self and belonging.

Of course, you could say that I am not circumstantially infertile because I do want to adopt after all. Still, it's not a financially viable option.

I am terrified though, that I'll be her in the end. Maybe I should be a Montessori school teacher, or run a daycare!