“Have you considered being a Model?”

Well, why not?
I am tall.
I am skinny.
Yes, I walk with a slouch,
Yes, I am not exactly photogenic,
but they can work on me, surely!
There’s always the training,
There’s always makeup,
There’s always good lighting and good photographers,
And there’s always Photoshop.
But still model?

No,
I am more qualified to be a coat-hanger,
Because…model?
Who the fucking fuck is a model?
Yes, I would like to be a model who tells you
that it’s okay if you have the talent to fall simply by standing, wearing a footwear that’s flatter than a coastline,
that it’s okay if you spend an hour searching for your lighter in your bag and find it in your pocket instead.
Yes, I would like to be a model who continuously wears the same sweater for three weeks and will continue to wear it for another three.
I can be the kind of model
who fumbles with forks and spoons,
who fumbles like a fucking cartoon,
who fumbles and tumbles
everywhere, every time.
Every step she takes
is an open invitation to all kinds of disasters;
Sudden climate change and alien invasion, all together.
Yes, I would like to be a model
who doesn’t have a sophisticated accent,
whose language doesn’t have a single trace of eloquence,
who could use a phrase like ‘fucking fuck’,
whose opinions are crude and brutal and maybe even stupid…

Maybe I could tie my hair in a french twist,
Wear suave shirts and trousers,
Wear long eyelashes and mauve lipstick,
And pronounce mauve the correct way,
Use contact lens that makes my eyes hazel,
Nails that make my hands an artist’s well-crafted miracle.
How tempting!
But how far away…
I am more likely to visit North Korea than this.
But thanks for suggesting,
Thanks for asking,
I would like to ask you back though,
“What is a model?”

Give me the centre stage
And I can’t, just can’t, greet you with a stone face
that tells you I am miles away from your wildest dreams.
I am not miles away from your wildest dreams,
I am there as the background in the most mundane ones.
Give me the centre stage
And I would pull you close,
And peel my heart,
Ask you to trace the scattered bits of self esteem
bit by bit,
tears by tears.
Together maybe we can discuss the utter misfortunes
of my privileged life,
of your privileged life,
about how bad we are,
about how worse we could be.
Peel my heart further
And if I show you my pain,
would you judge me for being ‘artificially complicated’?
And if I show you my insanity and wild happiness instead,
would you judge me for being naive and shallow?
Peel my heart
And if I show you that I am as equal as you are
would you judge me or judge yourself?

So what model?
I am the coat hanger.

*

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The Accident

Liverpool

Our bus halts. There isn’t any bus stop in the immediate vicinity. I don’t notice it at first, still enjoying Dorayaki. We had dropped these Japanese pancakes on the bus floor while trying to open the packet. That hadn’t stopped us from eating them. We had picked them immediately and stuffed them into our mouths. There’s always that three seconds rule.

“Sorry, you’ll have to get off here. The road is closed ahead,” the driver tells us. Abruptly brought back into reality, we stare at him, puzzled.

“Don’t worry. Your stop is just 2 minutes walk away.”

We thank him and get off the bus. A few seconds pass by deciding which way we should head to. Which nothingness are we willing to pursue tonight? The right one or the left? Our London plans are always nothing. We end up going to the same places, every time – Soho, Piccadilly, Camden, Shoreditch. London is too big to be explored on spontaneous weekend plans. We walk anyway, to the left or maybe to the right, hoping to find an interesting place and probably meet interesting people. My hopes are dim. The night has progressed too deep and it’s Sunday – nothing’s going to be open. But I am enjoying shivering in the cold and unsuccessfully trying to find the top of the buildings around me. It’s the first time I have been to Liverpool. With fancy buildings and offices splashed all over the man-made scenery I am walking through, I am too amazed to know where to look and fix my gaze at.

“So, that’s why the road was closed…” Lee nudges me.

I look at the ambulance as well.

Accidents are not unknown to me. I have seen plenty on Indian roads – the overturned trucks, cars with shattered windshields and their engines bleeding green, two-wheelers lying in the middle of a road – the victims engaged in a verbal fight, curious people gathering around them and traffic growing rapidly behind.

Lee and I continue walking past the accident scene.

“I..I..” a man is sobbing before us, trying to speak but failing horribly.

“There’s a woman on the road..” I tell Lee as cold shiver traverses through my backbone. She nods and we both look at her, immediately turn away afraid of what we might end up seeing. I can’t help it though. I turn to look again. There are three paramedics around her. She’s lying motionless, head covered in blood.

“Paramedics are already there, she should be alright,” I think.

I recall the face of the of the man we had just walked past. So, it was his car…

“Do you think…” I try asking something, immediately forgetting, feeling colder, falling numb. I want to get out of here. We both walk as briskly as we can.

“That woman was-”

“Dead” Lee completes the sentence for me.

I look at her, blink for a couple of seconds, wondering if there was a question mark or a full stop at the end of what she had just said.

*

The Movie Premier

We were walking through the streets of London again, still thinking about Mochi. Our tongues craved for more but we were determined not to succumb to our perverse insatiable greed for this Japanese dessert.

“Is today 12th?” Lee asked.

“Yes,” I said checking my phone.

“I am not sure, I need to check, but if I think what’s tonight is really happening tonight, it might just turn out to be the best night of our lives.”

“Oh, nice!” I said pretending I understood what she said.

“Yes! I know where we need to go!”

I followed Lee blindly. Wherever she would take me, I would happily go. No, I wasn’t in love, we just didn’t have any other plan.

We talked, walking on the pavements, crossing the roads, watching people around us.

“Look at that lady,” I mumbled to Lee. “Yes, I saw,” she nodded.

“I want to be like her when I am old.”

“Me too,” I thought. Who wouldn’t? How could one care to be so well dressed even at eighty? I didn’t intend to be offensive if that thought is offensive in any way. I was just shocked because I am twenty-four and I have given up on life already. I don’t even bother to comb my hair sometimes. I wear the same canvas every day. I wear the same jumper. I wear the same jacket. I don’t bother wearing contact lens, I prefer saving two minutes over doing nothing and looking weird in specs instead. This lady, on the other hand, was a model. How does she have so much life? Bottle green stylish hat, velvet dress, shiny pearls, red but not too loud lipstick, white gloves – Posh and graceful – this is what I would like to be. How do I end up being messy and loud instead?

Later, we started coming across even more fashionably dressed people. Silk gowns and gloves. Crisp and handsome tuxedos. The shiny sparkly queue of glamorous rich people was boisterous and long. Everyone seemed happy. Why wouldn’t they be? They were going to watch Star Wars with people who had starred in that movie themselves.

Lee was brimming with excitement. We walked till the very end of the queue, at the entrance of the Royal Theater. Actors were stepping out of the Limousine, posing in front of the camera, stopping by to say a word or few to the anchor, waving to the crowd, signing some autographs, smiling at the camera again and then going inside the theater.

We could have tried asking for an autograph or a selfie too, but we were on the sadder side of the barricade. The free side. I stared at the huge LED screen while Lee tried clicking some photos by going closer to the barricade hoping for better angles and views.

Star War premier, who would have thought?

A part of me was excited. I wanted to post photos on facebook, send snaps to my friends in India. “STAR WAR PREMIER! WOW!” #London #IloveLondon #RoyalTheater #soexcited #unbelievable #likereallyunbelievable #Pleasetellmeyouarejealous

But I didn’t.

Wish I had watched even a single Star War movie. Wish I had given a fuck.

*

I am offended.

If you tell me that I am beautiful, I will be offended.
If you tell me that I am ugly, I will be offended.
Don’t waste that cheesiness on me –
If you do, I will be offended.
If you don’t ever, however, I will be offended.

Tell me I am too tall, I will be offended,
Tell me I am not tall enough, I will be offended.
Tell me I am pretty,
I will say you don’t mean it.
Tell me that I am not,
I will say you are mean.
Tell me I am too thin,
that you are almost almost jealous,
I will say I badly need the gym,
And wonder how you’ve been callous.
“Your teeth are like pearls”
“Your teeth are like cat’s”
Whatever be the case,
I will try to conceal them while I chat.
Tell me to lose those specs –
So much better I might look without them,
Have you seen the dark coffins of my eyes?
What will I do about them?
A major concern as it seems –
My smartphone beaming with an awkward photo,
Snap a couple more sefies,
A game similar to ‘Lotto’,
A jolie, filter dipped face now finally bears my name,
And I will still be offended,
How I don’t actually look the same.
Tell me I look tired,
Had the previous night been rough?
Tell me I look sick,
Did I not sleep enough?
Why do I look so stoned?
Why do I look so drunk?
I guess my face carries a mystery,
A lot of myths to debunk.
Tell me I am smart,
I will judge you for being dumb,
Tell me I am a fool,
I will say you are an arrogant scum.
Use all the beautiful adjectives,
And I will ask, “What do you want?”
Use nothing, nothing at all,
And still that shall haunt.

Maybe, there doesn’t exist a compliment
That could bring a genuine smile,
So, I guess my offense isn’t your fault –
I am just stupidly vile.
Tell me it’s not the case, I will say you pretended.
If you don’t, however, I will still be offended.

 

 

The Sunset

Sure, it’s beautiful –
This ending day;
Crimson, Magenta
Tiffany, Tuscany
Why are the birds departing already?
Wings dispersed like charcoal ashes in the air,
The street lights shining like a long diamond necklace along the roads.
There’s moon on the other side
The love birds must be exchanging a cheesy dialogue or two.
This public display of affection makes me uncomfortable
But the moon alone makes me more uncomfortable –
For the night shall be gloomy,
Cold and restless,
Unsettling.
I am hoping you two understand human mentality more than I do.
You have been here much much longer than me after all.
You have witnessed thousands of lameness like this being written right here
And you will do that in future as well.
But here’s the thing –
Sun, stay here for a little more while
Moon, you can stay too if you want
I am just not sure if I am ready for the darkness yet.
Don’t leave me with my disorientated freezing heart,
I could appreciate some warmth right now,
The warmth that’s safer to obtain from you
Than a heartless lover
Or a bottle of wine,
Or a puff of smoke.
Don’t leave me just yet.
My treacherous mind is scarier than the ghosts outside.
Don’t leave me just yet,
Hear my plea if only you can.
Another day will be passed-
A new link of disappointment added to the chain
A new day dream of what could have been.
Be the present,
Don’t be the past yet.
I am not yet adjusted to your ridiculous speed.
But you won’t listen, will you?
You will say you are coming back,
With another dawn,
Another day,
But it is not the same!
It’s a different date.
It’s a different day.
It is NOT the same.

So, you have gone,
The dark starless night.
Maybe I could still fish you out of the horizon,
If I am patient enough
If I am quiet enough
But you have gone.
Gone.
Maybe someday I might visit you again through a time travelling machine.
Gone.
Or maybe just skim through some random memories
at a random day
reading a random diary entry
or listening to a random old song.
And I would long for you even more,
But gone,
Gone –
That’s what you are.
“Move on,” you say,
Like a person apologizing for not loving his lover back.
I will, of course
Not that I have any other choice,
I need to live in the end.
But I wish there was a pause button,
A rewind
Or even fast forward
But too bad;
It’s much more simple than that
Once you hit play,
The only thing you can press
Is Stop.

The Love Song

You are into her before you even know it,
You love her before you even know what love is,
You aren’t sure of course,
Sometimes it’s so easy to just be a pervert,
Sometimes it’s so easy to put your friendship on sale just to get rid of some momentary bouts of loneliness.
Friendship?
What is friendship?
Apart from that caring and sharing,
Is it the line that you swear to never cross?
Even though you are mostly hanging around this side of the line longing to explore the land opposite side of it,
Mind says it might be fun,
Mind says we should be hopeful, of course nothing would change.
What mind? Mind intoxicated with lust among other things?
Liar.
Liar.
The fucking temptress.
Nothing remains the same,
Stop with the tendency to make simple things complicated.
Let me continue walking on this side of paradise,
I love it,
No, trust me,
It’s not the question of me being corrupted or scrupulous,
Maybe it’s simply the question of me being hesitant
Or cowardly
Or in denial.
Don’t ask me.
Don’t argue.
Do you understand the implications of what you are implying?
It’s so easy to fall for her though,
No wonder it has happened before
With other people,
In other places.
It’s easy to stand in the queue,
Waiting for nothing in particular,
Maybe hanging out with people who share the same object of admiration.
Admiration?
But I fucking love her,
But they do too!
It’s so easy to love her though,
I don’t know why,
I don’t know why,
I don’t know why,
It makes me fucking hate myself
I don’t want to be another leech yearning to be loved back,
I wanted to love –
Unconditionally
For once in my whole god damned life!
Maybe that is why I am standing in the queue,
Hoping for everything,
Hoping for nothing.
I like to believe that you are aware what it means to me,
What you mean to me,
I like to believe that you are aware of my presence in this queue,
And in a way you even like it.
Who doesn’t like to be loved after all?
Makes you such a bitch.
And I love you even more.
I know you won’t say it out loud,
I know you are in some evil way even wanting me to confess,
Yeah, good luck with that.
There’s more thrill in secretly searching for various shades of the same colour in your eyes,
There’s more thrill in noticing the varying sizes of your pupil,
There’s more thrill in unabashedly juxtaposing my fantasies on to you,
There’s more thrill in listening to your voice in sync with the songs,
There’s more thrill in watching you kiss other people,
The bittersweet sigh from my heart,
I have dealt with this before,
You can be my ultimate romantic tragedy.
Anyway, I am not sure if I am capable of making you my happy ending.
So ignore my love,
Ignore my love for you, my love
Meanwhile I can write millions of love songs on you,
Which I hope would disappear from the face of the Earth,
Unread.
Especially by you.

How not to book your International Flight Tickets – The End or is it?

Part – I

Part – II

Part-III

Part-IV

It was my first International flight. And everything that could go wrong had gone wrong. Having gone through this entire struggle, perhaps I should have been happy but I was indifferent instead. The Air India flight attendants were middle aged, friendly, but also and busy. I greeted them with a weak smile which was never returned and I walked down the aisle straight to the last row of Economy class and to my surprise discovered that I was going to spend the next nine hours in a company of a young English man.

Pause. Let me digest this.

Never. Never, I repeat, in the history of my air or any travels have I ever had the opportunity to be in a company of a young stranger I could actually converse with. And after all the ways my luck had lashed out on me in the last three days, this guy was such a pleasant surprise. The guy who happened to share the same name as that of a famous Christian priest, was a psychology student who had been travelling to India to learn Vipassana and experience the beauty of Himachal (among other things). We discussed movies, books, psychology, England and how we both were stuck at the Mumbai airport for different reasons but during the same period of time and how it was such a horrible experience. I spoke about my new University. He spoke about his. And then he spoke about mine because he knew about it better. I hadn’t spoken to anyone except the inhumane creatures at customer care for past two days. I confess I was a bit charmed by this person. And I was glad that he was there. The next couple of hours that passed by as I flew from one time zone to another were good ones. I watched a movie. I watched the sky from the window. I let the guy sleep on my shoulder. I tried reading the book he gave me that was about Vipassana meditation. I ate breakfast. I ate lunch. I had seen food after such a long time. When the Air hostess came to me asking if I would like a glass of whiskey, I wildly nodded a yes inside but asked for a fruit juice instead. Finally, my wrist watch no longer showed me the correct time. Finally, we had reached London. I looked at the city from above. It was unlike any aerial view I had ever seen. This was London, of course. It had to be this way. “Oh! This is your first time here!”the English guy exclaimed, “This city is going to shock you.” Well, I think I have been well trained for that. We got off the flight together and parted our ways at the Immigration. He lived in Oxford and he said that I could ping him if I was ever there. I sent him a friend request on Facebook. He never accepted.

Heathrow Airport is gigantic. It has to be. After spending an hour or so at the Immigration queue, my next mission was to find the correct Baggage claim section. Despite my poor navigation skills, I found it relatively quickly. Everything wrong that I could have imagined happening to me had already happened, right? Wrong. There was still one thing that could go wrong. Back in Ahmedabad, the lady at the counter had told me not to worry about my bag. Well, as it turned out that was the only thing I should have been worried about.

They had lost my baggage.

The guy whom I had met in the plane had told me about how he had lost his baggage when he came to India and how he was rendered cloth-less for the next four days. I had smiled and nodded in sympathy. But little did I know that anecdote was actually a prediction for my own near future. My usual reaction to this situation would have been anger and a bit of panic. My actual reaction was indifference. I guess there is a saturation level even for frustration. I filled the form and got the tracking number, left the airport, paid five times higher bus fare to Norwich (Since I was originally supposed to get to Norwich directly, I hadn’t pre-booked any bus from London), saw a bit of that humongous city through my window and got mesmerized by it in the process and finally reached my University. I was going to spend next four days sans any fresh clothes. This wasn’t a very happy situation to deal with, given the fact that I had already been in the same clothes for the past three days. How did I manage? Well to begin with, I got drunk as fuck at the very first night I arrived in England.

When finally I did get my luggage I found sugar, that my mother had asked me to keep in my bag at the last minute, sprinkled all over my clothes. Thanks for the icing at the top. I guess they thought I was carrying drugs or something. After four days (actually seven including those three at airport) of waiting to wear some fresh clean clothes, this was exactly what I was looking forward to.

But hey, at least I was here. At least my bag was here too.

So to sum it all, here is the list of things that I think you should keep in mind;

  1. If you are travelling in between the months of July to September, don’t book your flight from Mumbai.
  2. Pay attention to Airport announcements.
  3. Check your visa requirements carefully. Don’t assume. Don’t be lazy. Your answer is just a google search away anyway.
  4. Avoid booking an Air France ticket. Their customer care sucks.
  5. Like really.
  6. Don’t carry sugar in your bag. They mistake it for Heroin.
  7. Always pack an extra pair of clothes in your hand baggage.
  8. Don’t send friend request to someone you just met.
  9. Or do, whatever. Go live your life.
  10. In case of adversity, remember – This too shall pass.

 

“Laugh at thy own misfortune.” ~ Plato

***