philosophy, Poetry

A love letter

Dear,
How scandalous and embarrassing of me to anticipate for the day when I will be able to speak to you again,
when you are not supposed to exist,
when your charm is something I should easily resist!
But look how glittering you are!
Even the dawn can’t make your presence disappear!
How tempting it is to touch you,
even though it’s a common knowledge how toxic you are!
How attractive it is to pursue you,
even though it’s widely known how forbidden you are!
O Honey! O Darling!
Why mustn’t you desert my heart?
You bring death to my life,
You bring life to my death,
You bring love, you bring hate.
You bring joy, you frustrate!
You destroy, you create.
Are you even real?
How embarrassing and scandalous of me to be influenced by you so much,
Wasn’t my life already complicated enough?
No, it is pointless to accuse you!
Because I think you make my life simpler instead.
You are blood into my veins,
Air that I could breathe,
Despite your debatable actuality,
You mean,
You exist,
As if nothing else matters.

***

Advertisements
philosophy, Poetry

Dead lives,

Dead lives, dead leaves,
Scattered across the grey streets,
On a soulless journey to nowhere or everywhere
with the winds sweeping them onto different destinations
With the time decaying them back into life;
Just so they could fall lifeless once again.
What do you hope to find in this circular maze?
How are you different from other carbon corpses?
Dead eyes, dead voice,
After all, a beating heart was never your choice!
Like the stones, like the deepest ocean bed,
You are silently waiting for the end ahead.
Hush!Hush!Hush!
Don’t think it too loud!
Hush!Hush!Hush!
The stars might overhear!
Time might end today or after infinity,
But the blood must continue running stale in your veins
The thoughts must wander lost always.
Dead leaves, dead lives,
sleeping indifferently on the streets at nights.
Make sure there’s never anything to see
Make sure that the eyes are always wide shut
For if they blink open, if they ever do,
It will all come fiercely rushing through,
in all its unfairness,
tearing apart your blissfully protective wall of indifference-
The storming life,
The warrior love,
valiantly destroying your ignorant existence,
Your living death.

***

food for thought, philosophy, Poetry

I am an Alien

Beautiful places, beautiful people, beautiful pictures
And I am not a part of it
Despite being a part of it
My existence – dusted at some neglected corner
not meant to be discovered,
I stand silent, trying to admire, trying to convince
that I am in love with what lays before me
An ineffective camouflage for how really detached I feel
In my head, I am already miles away
Though I stand right here
In my head, I am already mourning the separation
Though I haven’t felt a single ounce of love for your company
In my head, I am crying over an alternate future
Though I can’t even admire the present.
Beautiful pictures, beautiful places, beautiful you!
Would you call me insensitive?
Is my heart really a stone?
Never overwhelmed or underwhelmed
I am just whelmed
Not too happy, not too hurt, not too furious
I anticipate a storm inside
But there’s no destruction
There’s no scope for creation
For a poet –
I am surprisingly devoid of turbulences
Maybe I am being too harsh
Maybe I am being too vain
All this meaningless rant –
Beautiful pictures, beautiful places, beautiful people!
And I am not a part of it
Despite being a part of it.
I am an alien and I couldn’t be more ordinary.

*

food for thought, Short Stories

Somewhere in the Universe

“You have nothing to say to me?” you asked, sounding a bit surprised.

I looked at you and my head jolted me with a series of flashbacks of numerous diary entries, self-conversations and monologues.

It’s not like I have nothing to say to you. Perhaps I have a million things to say to you. But I can’t say anything. You can’t say anything, despite being a writer?  Writers are the ones who struggle the most for the right words! Of course I don’t have words to say it! But are there really any confessions or accusations I would like to make? No. I am a blank chit, devoid of emotions. I am not generally like this. You know how I am! I am brimming with all kinds of emotions most of the time. Sometimes, it’s so overwhelming that it gets quite out of control. I have pictured this conversation so many times in my head and every time in every single scenario, I had no words to say to you. Why? You might ask. It’s not like I have not been hurt by you. Maybe I am still in denial and I am not willing to truly accept it. Maybe I am not that hurt and I want myself to be hurt just to know what heart-break tastes like. I have no definite answer for that. But you give me nothing but indifference and all these fictitious conversations in my head. Each day I am colder and more aloof. However, I still remember – You. I don’t know how I do that. I am sure you never intended this. Well, of course, you never intended this! But to be honest, your intentions don’t matter anyway. I know what I meant to you – Nothing! And there is nothing wrong with that. When I think about you, I never consider my own judgment or perception or my own state of mind/heart; I become you or whoever I think you are. And from your point of view, my meaninglessness in your life makes perfect sense. That’s why maybe I don’t have anything held against you. If am zero for you, well, I am a zero. I don’t mind being like that. It’s refreshing in a way. Obviously if I had any choice, I would definitely like to change that. But I can’t do that. It’s your life. You are the protagonist. Protagonists have their own characteristics; they don’t follow a writer’s rule! They make their own rules! I have nothing to say to you because you still mean so much to me and I can’t really confess that without you being offended. Offending you would be a delight but I have no energy for that neither the will. Maybe what you’d feel is not offence but guilt and then you’d ask for my forgiveness. How can I forgive you if I don’t even have an answer for whether at all I had ever been hurt? I have nothing to say to you because in my head I have said it all. There are things that I remember. There are things that I have forgotten. There are things that I am grateful for. There are things that I am sorry for. In my life you would always have a value despite my failure in gaining the same in yours. It’s not a shame. It’s a tragic beauty. But I can’t say it, at least not in a way that makes sense to you or even to me.

“No” I nodded as I nervously glanced down at my wrist watch and eagerly waited for time to pass by. You glanced at your watch too. “Is there anything you would like to say?” I asked trying to ease the awkwardness. I received a familiar nod from you. We both looked at each other with artificial smiles pasted on our faces and secretly acknowledged that this was indeed the last time we were (not) enjoying each other’s company. And yet, I saw the fireworks in the background at our last good bye as if conveying that even our last miscommunication and small insignificant mis-story had the capability to create a minuscule impact somewhere in the universe.

***

humour, Poetry

An Ode to the Deadlines

So long I had postponed
Owing to the mispositions of stars
Or maybe the urgency to complete utterly unnecessary tasks
A day after another after another after another
Until you came finally,
As you had, once upon a forgotten time, forewarned
So, here’s to the panic
to the parade of chaos that you have brought along
to the adrenaline rush
to the songs of forbidden words
to the regret of wasted yesterdays
No, no prayer to be sung to the goddess of procrastination today!
No! Don’t you dare, you treacherous mind!
Today isn’t a good day
Today is the DEADLINE!
The day where the work of 10 months is compressed in 72 hours
So, here’s to the supernatural productivity
To the last minute short cuts
To the funny gods
To the funnier prayers
To the fake promises
To a distant dream of equal work division over time
Commutimism as they call it
And finally to completion of the since long incompleted
Scribbled, battered, stiched along the odd edges
Ugly, with gruesome scars of laziness
But who cares about the beauty though?
At least the end is here!
We will start the next project tomorrow.
Or maybe the tomorrow after tomorrow
Or the tomorrow after that
But for now we are done!
Ready to repeat our mistake all over again
With a false and yet believable hope let’s completely forget the stress and pain,
Of course, we are going to be alright,
As long as we celebrate the ending and not the perfection
My lazy ‘this-would-do-just-fine’ success brought by an odd hero of mine!
What would I do without you my beloved deadline?

***

 

food for thought

The Lost Virginity

Not that she ever asked for it or did anything to prove it in her entire life, but virginity had always been deemed pure much to her now-lost curiosity and newly-found annoyance. Right from her birth, every one – her parents, her siblings, her relatives, even her neighbors had announced that she was a deity to be worshipped, to be protected from evil and to be preserved in the shelter of innocence and compulsory happiness. There was no way to find out if this devotion, this surmount importance given to her protection was real or just a hypocritical lie. But then, it didn’t matter. What mattered was that virginity herself had to believe that she was fragile. And allowing her to be saved could indeed serve as a direct stairway to heaven for herself and everyone who knew her. And hence, it had begun even before her own beginning – the house arrest. Virginity was never permitted to step outside her house. The obvious reason being that too many things could go wrong and if she, god forbid, got lost in the wilderness outside, she wouldn’t be pure anymore! She wouldn’t remain the goddess that she supposedly was. In fact, she would turn into something quite contrary – shame. So, virginity spent her life locked inside her lovely home. There were days when she would insist if she could be allowed to go outside and at least be permitted to feel the freedom for a tiny moment. But she would be tactfully persuaded, manipulated and sometimes even violently subjugated to stay. The tactics didn’t work for long. To the acute annoyance of the fellow members of her family, she became more adamant over the time. When the truth ran out of its authenticity, when the lies stopped working, when the non-existent reasons could no longer be created, they lost their trust and began to lock the doors. Virginity, O the poor girl virginity, still longed to explore the wilderness, the captivating world beyond the walls. But as the rules became more stringent and the ways to confine her became more brutal, she started losing hope and slowly began to accept her unfair fate. Meanwhile, a different story continued to spin among her family – a story completely different from what they publically told. Secretly every person living inside that house knew her destiny. After all, one look at her and you would know that Virginity was bound to be lost. But no one could dare to accept that.
And so it happened, on a quiet careless night, virginity stumbled upon the doors that were accidentally left unlocked. Had the day she never thought would arrive was finally there? She wondered if she should go. She wondered if that risk was really worth taking. But hadn’t she dreamed about this moment her entire life? This was fate! This was her prayers coming true. This was everything she wished for – A chance! And so she ran with eyes filled with excitement and her toes bare that were longing to touch the grass for the first time. The wetness of the dews traversed right across her spine sending shivers through out her body. The smell of the wet soil intoxicated her. Never had a touch or a smell felt this amazing. Her eyes could finally find the vast sky above adorned with multiple diamonds. The view was heavenly. Never had she ever experienced this breathtaking beauty before. Never had she thought that her paradise would turn out to be even more beautiful than her wildest imagination! So, she ran fearlessly into oblivion. She ran further and further away from her home, from rules, from shame, from meaningless myths and traditions. Finally she arrived at a juncture where stood destiny gazing at her with her arms wide open. A step ahead and she knew she might not be able to find her way back home. She had travelled too far. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to completely abandon the sense of familiarity. Maybe the unknown was exaggerated. Maybe it was indeed time that she’d return. She stepped back reluctantly but destiny didn’t move. “Beautiful sensations lied ahead – how could you deny them?” she asked. Destiny was right – she couldn’t deny them. Hence, she took the path she wasn’t supposed to take.  She knew things would never be the same. And even if she did, she knew she might never be accepted. But all those ugly truths didn’t bother her. She had melted into her pleasure, into her excitement and into the emotions she had never felt before. Though her feet bled and calves pained but she did not stop. She had merged into this beautiful land now. Every touch mattered. Every sound resonated. The taste of freedom was divine. If this was the price she had paid for being lost. Then, this was worth it. Lost? Wait. What was that? Panic? The night suddenly turned dark and the forest became too dangerous to stay in any longer. In that moment of her vulnerability, sharp tinges of pain began to assault her. She grew too conscious of her bleeding feet. She frantically started running back in hopes of finding the way to her home. But she had no idea how she could return. She was lost! Virginity was lost! How did you let it happen to yourself? A voice rebuked. How could she explain the power of that impulse? In that moment, when she took the path, she had been in love. In that moment, she knew she couldn’t be saved. She had no choice. There are things that are too beautiful to miss despite the lurking dangers. She just had to experience that beauty. And hence she did.

She searched in darkness for signs that could lead her home. Then in the mud, under the glowing light of moon, she found her own footprints. Overjoyed, she started following them. It pained to walk but she walked anyway and eventually she reached the juncture that had transformed her life. She limped the way back through the familiar road. Soon, her home, her prison came into the view. The door was still unlocked and her jailers were nowhere to be seen. She tiptoed back into her room and began to wonder about the surreal events of that night. How beautiful it had been! She was lost and she was found. And now she was here! Back home! Would she lose her stature of “being a symbol for purity”? But what had been this purity? Why had people taken such drastic measures to retain something that didn’t even have any true meaning?  What would they do if they found about her? Would she forever be branded ‘lost’? But didn’t the fact that she had experienced something so mystic and returned also made her qualified for being called ‘found’? Why could virginity always be lost and never be found?

Peeking out of the curtains of her thoughts, she looked herself in the mirror and asked, “Who is Virginity anyway? Lost or found – what difference does it make as long as she is happy?”

***

food for thought, Short Stories

The Study Table – III

I

II

III

Life moves on. So, I moved on too –

My new destination? A scrap yard. How did I come to be there? Didn’t I tell you that my ex-owner found me too old and too obese for his “renovated” home? He was so sure of my ugliness and my uselessness that he didn’t even put me up on sale – He threw me straight to the Scrap yard. Before I could even analyze my surroundings, I was taken by a roadside barber. So, now I had a new job role. I watched people come and go, some getting shaved, some getting massaged and some getting their hair cut. I remember how happy the mirror placed on me used to be. I despised her. Her happiness made me grow immensely jealous of her. With each passing day, I became more and more morose. Throwing me away like garbage after all those years of my diligent service wasn’t a fair treatment. Couldn’t he just chop me off and use me in a bonfire? I would have been happy with that. Sitting there, by the road, was humiliating! I am the one who needs to be kept sedated with smell of books. I am the one who survives in the presence of poetry or the equations of chemical reactions or trigonometry problems. The lumps of hair accumulating on me were infuriating. The barber scratching the razors on me didn’t make me feel better either. Initially, I had thought that the girl was worst. Then I thought that the scrap yard was the worst. But somehow, I kept descending to worse of worsts! I was tempted to call the barber worst too. But I couldn’t, fearing the ironic implication of that statement. Nevertheless, fate took the unintentional and the unsaid challenge anyway.

The barber abruptly left one day. Initially, it seemed like a dream come true. But in reality, it has been a nightmare. I spend my days and nights alone on the road side. So, I get roasted in the afternoons, wet in the rains and remain immensely dusty all the time. The horns of the cars haunt me, my loneliness haunts me, my uselessness haunts me, my existence haunts me and I stand waiting, waiting for my end to finally make an entrance. The way things are progressing or regressing, I am sure my end isn’t far. But if it is, if it is somehow still far, then the worst haunts me. And here you are – miraculously standing with that unwavering look of admiration in your eyes. I am not flattered. I am amazed. For a moment, I am tempted to forget what I have been through. For a moment, I am tempted to be hopeful. For the first time in a really long time, I am happy. It doesn’t have to last long. I know it won’t. But I am grateful to you for this. I am grateful to you indeed.

“It’s a pity how this table is thrown here. It should be used, it’s so pretty!” I hear the woman’s voice.

“Pretty old, you mean. Pretty broken, you mean. Pretty ugly, you mean.”  Her friend replies and I find myself agreeing with him.

“Pretty apt for our café, I meant.” The woman replies.

“This? For our café? No way!”

“What’s wrong! It matches with the theme. Plus, I will work on it. I will make it pretty presentable and pretty awesome, you will see!”

“I am not so sure…”

The woman comes near me. I shiver at her proximity. I shiver at her touch. It really had been a long time since any human had stood so close to me.

“The table is old, yes, I know. But the wood is still good, see? They don’t make such furniture anymore! Let’s take it to our garage. I will repair it.”

“You do that in a month’s time. Or else I will throw it.”

“You can count on me!” she replies excitedly.

I refuse to believe my ears. Does she really mean it? After this long series of abandonment, did this just happen for real?

Epilogue

I was sure I was going to return to the road again. I didn’t think I was repairable. I was sure that the woman would give up on me soon. Miraculously, she didn’t. I ended up being in her café instead. I couldn’t believe my own transformation. Though I am no longer a study table I admit, but I am always sedated with a stack of books at my corner. Quite often, I am also greeted by the heat of laptops and the mild heat of the hot coffee filtered through the coasters. Sometimes I am greeted by interesting conversations, interesting people scribbling interesting things in their notebooks and I love it.  I love it all. But then amidst all these beautiful chaos and entropy, I keep myself reminding that I am, at the end of the day, just a table.

***

Short Stories

The Study Table – II

I

II

Life moves on. So, I moved on too –

After he left, his room was converted to cater paying guests. My new user, a girl, wasn’t very studious. The stains on me – You can attribute almost all of them to her. Before I met her, I was aware of just one use of mine – be a good companion to studies. But she used me for everything other than that. I was pretty shocked by my own versatility. I remember the day when she had even used me for things that are usually described in those books – Eroticas! If I had cheeks, you could have seen how embarrassed I still get by just thinking about it. But that also was one of the wildest nights I had ever had. I would admit that. This acceptance didn’t come easily though. When she used me for the same purpose again I was horrified to realize that I was secretly anticipating it. It was shocking because I remembered being furious about it. And yet, my anger had deserted me for a secret anticipation! But there’s no point in making denials, is there? You can’t change how you feel – You feel what you feel. Initially, I had judged her. Then I judged my own self. I hated her. I hated her the most because she made me hate myself. I thought the worst had hit me. But then it hadn’t. There’s a thin line between hate and love. I don’t know when I crossed it. I don’t know how I found the sudden acceptance for both of us. But my days significantly improved from then on. How did it all come to be? It’s a mystery. I soon forgot my ex-job roles. I had conformed completely according to my new environment, according to my new user. I became lazy. Not being dusted didn’t bother me. Not being touched didn’t bother me. In fact, I soon became absolutely reluctant to being disturbed at all. All I wanted was to be left alone. I slept and slept except the time when I would gaze at the girl comb her hair or apply Kajal looking at the small dusty mirror placed on me. Sometimes, she would work on her laptop, or read a novel; those were some occasional moments that made me grow nostalgic of the old days. Sometimes, she would sit on me and smoke and just stare at the ceiling in the dark. She was peculiar that way and her peculiarity often made me feel protective about her. Not that I was particularly skilled at protecting her. But she could be so bold and vulnerable at the same time, it broke my heart. Sometimes, she would talk for endless hours, often to herself. Sometimes, she would even talk to me. “Table Oh! Table! Where’s my comb?” Not on me, in your bag but how would I tell her that? “Where’s my mascara?” You dropped it and now it has rolled over behind me. But how do I tell her that? “Where’s my book?” You don’t have it. Not even the photocopy.

She was unique. She was amazing. I loved her. But sometimes, I used to be mad at her for both disturbing me and not disturbing me often. Each evening when she would come home, I would eagerly wait for her to take her journal out of the drawer and pen down her day with me. I would scan through her thoughts, through her breakups, through her patch ups, through her rifts with professors, through her weekend getaways, through her long walks, through her discoveries of new food joints, through her shopping habits, through her experiences, through her life, through her beauty – shining radiantly in front of my eyes.

But you know the thing about life – it goes on, often turning a blind eye towards your deepest desires. So yes, one day, she moved out too.

**

III

Short Stories

The Study Table – I

I

Truth be told, I admit that I am not the kind of thing who gets a lot of attention. And hence, receiving the same from you seems almost surreal. I can’t remember the last time when I received that look of admiration that you currently seem to hold. I am flattered, thank you. But it’s okay if you go back to being completely oblivious of me. You have done more than enough and I don’t wish to be too hopeful. It’s not like I will be offended by your negligence. I would be relieved, on the contrary. You might find this confession of mine, in a way, pitiable but you don’t have to waste your pity on me. You see, I accepted the fact, long time ago, that only the most fortunate ones among us are used for the purpose they are really meant for. Rest of all, are just meant to carry the load of the unused books kept at the corner, to forcibly flaunt the food stain scattered on our surface like acne marks on a teenager’s face and to be used as the open shelf for various weird things like lotion or medicine or pen stands filled with pens that don’t really work, the used plates that’s not been washed since several days, an empty bottle, ashes from the incense stick or a framed photograph received as a birthday gift, some rough useless papers, some broken pencils, ear rings – awfully lonely without their significant others, rubber bands, clutches who, with their broken tooth, are in a dire need of a dentist – you get the gist. But hold on, I am not trying to gain your sympathy here. Don’t be under the impression that I have never experienced any good days. There was a time when I used to dazzle under the light of a study lamp. There was a time when I was considered too sacred to be eaten upon; you see dining table and the study table aren’t the same thing. There was once a time, when the books kept on me were indeed used, read and written into.  There was once a time when I indeed felt useful and respected. Of course, that time is gone now. I have aged and I have become too ugly for the current furniture beauty standards. My ex-owner found me too obese and ancient to be kept inside his “modern” home. I seemed to be taking too much space. But I don’t bear any hard feelings against him or anyone. In fact, his opinions were, in a way, completely justifiable. However, I am pretty startled by your unconventional choice. Unconventional or in colloquial term – bad. But then, it’s just time, I understand. We all, once in our lives see the best of it. We all, once in our lives also see the worst of it. I guess, I have already seen the best and hence here’s the worst. It’s okay – it’s life. My only regret is that I never realized how beautiful it is to a hold book, watch a person read it, write on it and even sometimes sleep on it (especially when he is supposed to be studying). You might be startled by my unique standards for beauty. But then it used to be our secret; mine, chair’s and his. There are so many illegal naps he had taken under my supervision. I am not even remotely guilty about that. He seemed so beautiful and vulnerable in those moments. If I had hands, I would have run them through his hair. If I had voice, I would have sung a lullaby. But instead, I had a responsibility so I never let him doze for long intervals. Waking him up used to be the hardest thing to do but I had to do it. I am a study table after all, not a bed. But there were more secrets besides this. I witnessed him writing poems in lieu of solving mathematics problems for his first crush. I have also witnessed him using his newly learnt (rather a bit peculiar) vocabulary on the same crush when she told him she didn’t like him back. I have seen his anguish and gradual acceptance. I have seen him getting annoyed by the periodic table and inorganic chemistry in particular! I have seen him quoting Robert Frost and pasting extracts of Walt Whitman’s poetry on me. Ah! Those were the good days, when we would stay up till 3 A.M trying to solve a stubborn calculus problem and yet find no solution until one random day when we would realize how easy it really was. How mysteriously things work out! And how suddenly and yet spontaneously things deteriorate! I wasn’t taken completely by surprise when he left. I had always known that he would depart someday – that was ironically a major part of my purpose in his life and my life as well. But still I never thought that that someday would arrive so soon. How time flies! I kept hoping for the longest time that he would come back. I kept hoping that we would rekindle our relationship – at least for one day! But he never did, at least not the way I wanted him to. What could I do? That’s the most iconic thing about life – it goes on, often completely neglecting your desires.

*

II

III

How not to, humour, Narratives

How NOT to get off a crowded Indian Train

I am stuck in the narrow passageway of a general bogie reserved for ladies and my whole life is flashing in front of my eyes. Well, this would have been completely true, had it not been for the woman standing in front of me, whose acute politeness has me, distracted. Her voice has staggering intensity; my ears are barely managing to protect my eardrums from crumbling to the symphony of her cuss words. I am stuck. She is stuck. Behind me is a long queue (as long as the tiny bogie permits) and behind the meek woman, I am busy listening to, are the wild bison cramming their way into the coach that’s already filled till the brim. “Let us out first!” Another woman behind me screams. And I, both leading and blocking the queue of angry goddesses who want to get off the god damned train, am stuck with my bag engaged in an unbreakable embrace with the luggage of the other woman whose symphony has me hypnotized. All around me are people telling me to move! Move woman! Move! But then I can’t. Funny, I think sometimes that’s how life works as well.

I try to recall how I got into this situation in the first place. Well, it all began with  my decision to board a crowded general bogie. And I guess that’s the end of it. The tiny ladies’ coach is an objectified sexism in itself but of course I am not going to get into that debate. I am probably going to get old here, amidst this friendly crowd and feminism is not something I would like to ponder about right now. Paying my special gratitude to the size of this bogie, my mind wanders to the immediate reason that had caused this chaos – The woman who was sitting on the floor (because obviously we don’t have enough seats), blocking the way to the door and absolutely refusing to apply what’s called the common sense, that is, to get up when a train halts at a station. Ultimately when others tell her to stand and make way, she takes eternity to do the same. And by the time she clears the way for us to move ahead, the passengers on the other side have already started to rush in. And the result of her stupidity? Chaos. Victim? Me.

Move! Woman! Move!
Well I can’t. My bag is stuck. I am stuck. Can’t you see?

The polite woman finally stops shouting and decides to apply her brain. She lifts her bag and I am able to step ahead and also drift my bag forward. But there’s still a long way to freedom. There are too many people inside and now it’s my suitcase that’s creating havoc. As I push myself (and the bag, the god damned bag) forward, I accidentally hurt a small kid who was standing on the way. Her mouth turns into a gigantic O, her cheeks turn blood red and river and its tributaries start flowing from her eyes. I want to apologize. I obviously didn’t mean to slam my bag into her foot but there’s this major part of me who just wants her to shut up. She is a kid and I shouldn’t bear such thoughts but I am never going to be able to get off this train and these women and this noise and this wailing child are turning this place into a hell and I haven’t sinned enough to deserve this (Or so I thought!). I have already started formulating alternate plans. I realize I am never getting off here. So, I start thinking what the next stop of this train would be and how will I get back from there.

Move! Woman! Move!
Woman can’t move. CAN’T YOU SEE!
Woman is stuck in between all these people and shouting doesn’t help.
And amidst this greatest struggle I have ever endured to get off a train, comes a helping hand. But the helping hand isn’t polite either. Helping hand is angry and is shouting too, “Why are you coming out so late? So rahe the kya? (Were you sleeping all this while?)” I lose my temper at this. Now is not a good time for the glare and the taunts. If I just knew how to punch, I would have punched you right across your face. In fact in this moment, I can punch god himself. But I settle for glaring back at my Messiah, the red shirted coolie who is lifting my bag. But he doesn’t shut up. Then something rare happens, “Would you stop shouting?”-  I shout (ironically). I scream so hard, in fact, that my voice breaks like the light splits through a prism. Damn. I immediately regret it but at least the coolie is silent now. When I finally get to get off the train, I feel like I have been reborn. The coolie has placed my bag on the platform and has disappeared. Good, I wasn’t going to thank him anyway. There are still significant traces of anger left inside me. I avoid thinking about the near-fatal swarm of the women. I avoid thinking about the crying child. I avoid thinking about the cuss words I had been showered with. Obviously, I fail. I notice that my breathing has become erratic and I am still a bit dizzy. So, I sit on a nearby bench, take a few deep breaths and make myself believe that I really am alive and safe. Get off the train! That’s all I had to do! Realize how powerful chaos is? Realize how hazardous a heavy and huge suitcase is? Don’t carry a bag that weighs more than you do. Or join a gym and set major weightlifting goals. And yes don’t underestimate the stupidity of your fellow passengers. Avoid crowd! Avoid crowd! Avoid crowd! (This suggestion is, in reality, a sham because there’s nothing in India that’s not crowded.) And that’s how you get off a train in India safely.

***