If only she could speak,
She could share the horrors that daunt her..
The numerous tales of utter disregard that now, she barely remembers…
They say walls don’t speak and time heals.
But then- no one warned her that the walls only weaken with time,
And we are nothing but putty in the hands of mankind.
Find the will, when there’s no way,
You have NO choice, you have to stay.
Buckle up, brave your troubles,
Don’t be a coward, peer through this ‘rubble’!
What if I don’t want to? She asks,
Does everyone need to make it last?
“Mumma, why is T peach and I black, does that make me different?”
When my almost 7YO threw this bouncer at me, I was plain and simple stumped !! (forgive the cricket analogy)
In the 30 odd seconds it took me to regain my composure, I found myself drowning in multitude of emotions ranging from amusement to denial, anger and shame.
Being fortunate to be raised in the ‘independent’ India in a secular household; I grew up believing that the “R word” (racism) was relegated to faint remnants of our colonial era & mindset. At most, still prevalent in the some parts of the ‘modern west’ and not really ‘our problem’ anymore. Thus, imagine my utter disbelief when I find the snarly roots creeping this close to home.
At first, I assumed that he must have picked it up school or some household help. However, as exposure to both has been next to nil the last 100 days- I quickly concluded that this too, was yet another casualty of the proverbial fascination for the ‘fair-skinned’ in India.. Being a shade a chocolate myself, I spend a few short months as a teen actual believing “Fair is lovely” but then thanks to some rock solid parenting and the good fortune of sensible friends- that perception vanished almost as quickly.
But then to hear that question, 30 something years later; I knew the problem is still very much prevalent. I knew his questions were not based on naivety of the obvious difference but rising from a niggling sense of judgement..
Have I been biased sub-consciously? Am I guilty of attributing traits basis physical appearance? I might not be a racist in the most obvious way but do I still succumb to stereotyping? Worse still; am I passing this to my children? Is the struggle and the ugly history of apartheid relevant for my kids even today?
This “Juneteenth”, as I attempt to answer my LO; I will search for bigger answers deep within…
The WhatsApp tone buzzes again; by now I’ve grown almost immune to the increasing pressure of yet another victorious claim of assignment completion & submission.
I’m yet to begin on the first of the 5 different daily assignments being sent for the last fortnight. I know it won’t be the end of the world (seems insensitive to say that in COVID times) if these don’t get done in time, and even if they don’t get done at all. Yet, somewhere the feeling of ‘failing’ is slowly seeping in; fanned & cajoled by the omnipresent ‘working-mom’ guilt! The inability (dare I say defiance) to keep up pace with my 6 YO’s new ‘virtual assignment’ is making me question my priorities and competence in general…
Life seems to be in an endless loop of juggling ‘mundane’ household chores, office projects & never-ending BlueJeans calls, emotional upheaval of a nearly-13YO at being stuck at home, dividing & conquering homemaking with a spouse who is doing more than his share of household chores. There are days where I’m spiteful of his efficiency instead of being grateful- it seems like every little thing someone else does, seems to magnify what I can’t do.
Social media doesn’t help with numerous posts of “staying fit & fab @home”, hobbies/passion folks are discovering; and some good citizens doing their fair share for those who need help.. I find myself wondering what the hell am I doing wrong?
At the end of the day I’m exhausted, I often find myself feeling I’m not being professional enough, not working enough, not helping enough, not ‘parenting’ enough…
But then again, there are things I’m doing right; I am enjoying cooking more than I used to, the house is cleaner than before (apart from a few dead plants), I’m spending more quality time with my spouse ; enjoying a drink every evening much like our college days… we’re calling my parents and the in-laws everyday to check-in on them. I’m taking time out to ensure I’m connected with my colleagues and stakeholders more than before; we’re helping families of those to work for us and then a few more. Heck, I’ve even lost a few of inches & rediscovered limb dexterity owing to all the sweeping-mopping Indian style 😊
It’s amazing how sometimes the most selfless acts seem to be motivated by some twisted selfish need. Maybe, it’s unfair to generalize for everyone but if I were to just limit it to myself and introspect on a few (and far in between) acts of kindness (that adjective is not very often used to describe me) – I think I can link most of them back to a “WIIFM”- what’s in it for me- even if it’s something as intangible as “it will make me feel/do good/bring good karma”- there always has been a driver for any action..
During a recent rough patch I was suddenly confronted with my spiritual/religious side – a side, I was not prepared and possibly emotionally ill-equipped to handle. While I did derive some of the so-called ‘inner strength’ and an elusive sense of optimism – I was constantly plagued by feelings of guilt and selfishness– and it constantly felt as though I was trying to cheat someone.
And then, the more I thought about it, the more convinced I became – that mostly all of us have some sort of ‘exchange-scheme’ going on with our respective gods/spiritual leaders/beliefs it’s always some sort of quid-pro-quo.
Is our respective believe/religious system the biggest-ever marketing gimmick – the question is, by whom and for whom and if it works why really think too much about it? One can get into an unnecessary intellectual discussion of about faith and locus of control/motivation and if “belief in an external source of power/divinity” work more for people who external locus of control- but there can never be an answer as to who’s right, or for that matter is there a right or wrong at all for this. All this grey is too unsettling from my black-and-white mind to decode maybe that’s why it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie and sometimes tell myself that not everything needs to be have a logic and sometime (just sometimes) it’s better to surrender to the unknown … 🙂
It was as though the mist came rushing down to caress the earth,
Like lovers meeting after a long separation.
The rush heady, the fervour steady
Suddenly, it doesn’t feel cold anymore
As the warmth veils the chill of before..
As the words die out,
And emotions coagulate.
The stillness is numbing with the moments we strangulated.
Solitude, they say can be a blessing
And providence a virtue.
Then, why does the morning dew feel lonesome, as though abandoned by yesterday’s rain
With melancholy running through its veins..
Why, does it not feel the joy of glistening in the first rays of the sun?
Why must it always, be about fun?
I only hope it discovers the purpose of its life
Before it evaporates under the harshness of ‘light’
Memories play hide & seek
And the wispy smile it brings, caresses the soul
So forbidden, so yielding,
So cocooned, yet so liberating.
The mind plays games and the heart responds with trepidation
Wonder what would it be like, if reality was a true mirror of this deception
“O heavy lightness! Serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!”
~ Romeo and Juliet
Very little, light load; Dark light, Bitter sweet; Serious joke, pretty ugly; Open secrets, screeching silence – Would the language be as interesting and visually descriptive if it weren’t peppered with oxymoron(s). While my fascination thus fixation towards oxymoron(s) continues, the multitude of its usage and its uncanny ability to make even the most life-less/meaning less phrase spring with life never ceases to amaze me – how simple mis-matched words can create so much magic….
Moved by inertia, stirred by flaccid-ity around him,
He sought to break free from the snares of comfort.
But crippled by luxuries, defeated by ‘success’ –
He realised he was long dead, living the life he aspired for …..
Stifled by your own choices,
Bearing the consequence of your actions,
Life is great is a leveler –
a mirror of what we’ve become
an echo of our unbecoming…