Posted in Love, Twisted Tales

Sleeping Beauty

In days of yore, a young lass

pretty as pretty could be,

her tresses gilted in gold,

azure eyes sparkled with glee.

At age, her parents invited

men from places far and neigh,

she slept assured true love will

find her in her reverie.

Years passed unaccounted for.

No one broke her thousand winks.

No prince ever came for her.

Parents crossed the rainbow bridge.

Their once pretty girl–with grey hair,

clouded eyes and sagging skin–

died in her sleep…

I wish she’d done something, instead.

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Posted in Life and After, Love

Bridled

My feet were killing me. I had spend yesterday’s Sangeet (Music and Dance) ceremony limping around in two-inch heels. It was as if I was continuously walking downhill. The fear of slipping and falling on my face made me clench my toes and within a few minutes, my calves and feet began complaining. I was the only one at the party who wasn’t able to dance at all.

And today, in a couple of hours, I will be expected to walk to my future husband while wearing these three-inch stiletto monstrocities. My cousins specially ordered these online bacause they loved me and wanted to make my day special. I wish I could stop them but it seems like all my life choices had been taken out of my hands ever since I agreed to marry.

I looked away to think of something else and my eyes rested on my lap, on the appalling red lehenga dress I was wearing—my mother’s choice. The equally red dupatta sat at a distance leering at me waiting for its turn to wrap me in its folds, its golden lace trimming and countless stones winking in the light.

The air of the room reeked of hair spray as the beautician tried to stick my short, spiky hair to my scalp in an attempt to hide my obvious boyishness. The large fake hair bun she had attached to the nape of my neck with a hundred pins was weighing my head down. Soon, she’d cover it with what seemed like half-the-flowershop, and paint my face with primer, concealer, foundation, face powder, face glitter, eye-shadow, kajal, eyeliner, blush, lip-liner, lipstck, an assortment of bindi

I had a sudden urge to throw on my favourite t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, and run away—if only my feet would stop hurting…

My phone vibrated.

“How are you holding up?”

“I’m running away.”

“Take me with you. They are making me wear a brocade sherwani. I’m melting in the stifling heat.”

“At least, you won’t wear heels.”

“Can you sneak out for a minute?”

“They won’t let me leave the room until they are done painting me.”

“Well, then, I’ll have to do this formally. See you in a minute.”

What was my future husband doing outside my home a couple of hours before our marriage? Why wasn’t he home preparing for the marriage procession? He was the only silver lining in all this craziness—the only guy who didn’t flinch at my obvious boyishness and career choice as a travel guide. What did he want to talk to me about now? Did he change his mind?

A knock on the door brought me out of the reverie. One of my cousins let my groom in, giggling uncontrollably. My parents were tailing him, clearly worried by his sudden appearance two hours before the time and without his family too.

He gave me a smile of comaderie, “So, I was looking at your video from yesterday’s function. I kept waiting for you to dance because your had once said that you loved to, but you just sat there, trying to smile and failing. Then, I realised you will be required to wear something even fancier today…”

I couldn’t understand where he was going with this speech. It didn’t seem like a matter urgent enough for the unexpected visit. However, he came closer and sat down on one knee next to my chair, a shopping bag open next to him. “I decided to be your knight in the shining armour, so you could dance with me today.” He took off the fancy heels from my aching feet, and slid on a pair of sneakers.

Finally freed, I fell in love.

Posted in Life and After, Random Thoughts

Lost and Bound

So many dreams shatter every year,

Lives lost and tears shed,

Coz we can’t step outside the role

Thrusted upon us the moment we were born

Against our wishes.

——–

We are molded to accept it

As our nature and our destiny.

——-

There is no question of not falling in line.

I am the woman: The fairer gender? Homemaker? Caregiver?

You are the man: The stronger gender? Bread winner? Protector?

You can’t cry.

I can’t stop.

——-

There is no question of not falling in line.

So many dreams shatter every year…

Posted in Random Thoughts

Why Do We Need a Pride Month?

The fact that we need a Pride month is a matter of shame for us all.

Did you know that around 5% of population across that world has a problem with gender identity. You say, “Well, I’ve never seen anyone…” That’s because they are foresaken by their families upon birth, killed, left in orphanages, handed over to the LGBTQ+ societies in your area or their families hide their ‘defect’…

The fact that we need a Pride month is a matter of shame for us all

because it means we are still not treating people right;

That we need a whole month every year to remind ourselves that people who are different deserve an equal footing;

That we still forget that gender is not black and white but hues of rainbow;

That people are commiting suicide every year because they are pushed to marry the ‘wrong’ gender to prove they are ‘normal’ and those who resort to violence to prove they are ‘man enough’;

That there are sports for women and sports for men, and people who are allowed to enter none;

That there are people who laugh at those who wear their colours with pride;

That every year, too many children are forced to drop out of school because they can’t deal with the physical, mental and emotional abuse by their classmates and teachers alike;

That we are still teaching our sons that boys don’t cry and daughters that girls don’t talk back;

That we are raising another generation that is just as unforgiving to those who don’t fit in the unyeilding boxes of gender roles…

The fact that we need a Pride month is a matter of shame for us all…

Posted in Life and After

The Taboo

A girl walks on the road wearing a long dress that fits her snugly.

A second girl looks at her clothes longingly, mentally comparing it with her own loose, unflattering clothes.

An old man ogles, his eyes resting in places they shouldn’t. A young guy wolf-whistles, while another touches her backside ‘accidently’.

So, a couple of old women begin gossiping among themselves about the vices of unashamed modern girls who invite rapists to themselves.

The second girl groans inwardly, hiding her longing to be free to dress…

Posted in Life and After, Random Thoughts

One-on-One

“Samantha, your Dad and I need to speak to you about the company you are keeping.”

“What are you talking about? Dan and I are just friends!”

“I know, Dan is a friend. I’m talking about Liz.”

“Liz is fine. I know she is a little short-temprered…”

“That’s exactly the point! She is short tempered and tomboyish. She plays football–Men play football. Women are cheerleaders. And the way she looks at girls…something is not quite right about her.”

“She can look at whoever she wants the ways she wants. And she can play football if she wants too. Our country has a women’s football team, for God’s sake!”

“All I’m saying is that you are not safe around her. I think she’s gay!”

“I don’t know what she is but she is my best friend and she won’t hurt a fly.”

(A few minutes later)

“Is that Liz you are texting? I forbid you.”

“No, I’m Googling ‘how to ensure your parents are just insane and not sexist’.”

Posted in Life and After

Women’s Day Is Not Just for Women

Women’s day is not just about empowering woman. It is about celebrating equality of all genders!

We live in a world where women create software, missiles and rockets, and men give birth to babies (yes, it is true!). It is crucial that we accept the changing gender roles as a way of life and not as exceptions.

We need to sensitize men that household chores don’t make them any less of a man. After all, a man can be a cook in a 7-star hotel, a janitor in a building, a taxi driver or a teacher, or run a laundry and still be a man. Why do the same chores at home make him feminine?

We need to teach both our sons and daughters how to cook, clean and drive; to respect all the three (yes, three!) genders; and to stand up against any shit from anyone against anyone, be that a woman or a man or LGBTQ; Above all, we need to stop teaching them “boys don’t cry”, “woman are the weaker gender”, “gays are to be laughed on”.

We can only do this by setting the example first. Let us start by sharing responsibilities with our spouses, respecting them for their effort and helping them without putting that across as a favour.  After all, when a mother flies to space for an year or goes to work every day, someone has to look after the children. Why can’t that be the father?

–Dedicated to all people who are breaking the gender barriers