Fish out of Grey Waters

This week I put the P in PTA and went to see how my baby cousin was doing at school. It was the time of the year when midterm papers were handed out. I happily looked over her shoulder as she proudly showed me how well she was doing. Now, of course a gathering of a whole bunch of Indian parents is always fun to watch, but I needed more entertainment. I decided that reading my baby cousin’s Hindi essay on ‘My Neighbour’ would do the trick. So here it is.

This translates as –

“In our world, good and bad people have been living together. Like Gods and evil men, truth and lies, terrorists and regular people and many more. In this way, humankind has also been divided. Some people are good in mind and body but on the other hand some others are not good by heart. The hearts of such people don’t beat for others and they think of only themselves and they also harm other people, these people are called ‘bad people’ in usual terms.

In my life, I too have met many different kinds of people. I liked the nature of some people and I could not bear the nature of some others. But I’ve never taken what these people say to heart. I’ve never paid any attention to them. A small part of our lives are our neighbours. Some good, some bad. Good neighbours are those that help during difficult times. Bad neighbours are those who are selfish.

My neighbours aren’t bad. We don’t particularly talk much but their general attitude towards us is good.”

And it goes on to give a detailed description of why exactly said neighbours were considered ‘good people.’

Ah, I thought, how naïve, kids these days I tell you!

But I guess, when one is asked to express themselves in their second language, all niceties melt away and what we’re left with is a very plain, distilled form of crude thought. What we’re left with is our base instinct.

We start to navigate that territory with a lens of judgement that appeals to our unconscious self. If we see our world as black and white then that’s how we write about it.

I’ve always navigated in grey waters so I was amused at the kid’s perspective and frankly a little worried.

When I asked why she had chosen to begin her essay in this way, she very matter of factly answered that this is how she began every Hindi essay. No matter what the topic handed to her would be, she would always start like this.

The world – good and evil, love and hate, gods and demons, truth and lies!

The essay could be about the cow, a day at the hospital or even about rain. And yet her stance about good and evil remained unchanged. She stated categorically that it’s exactly how everything is, either good or bad. You either like something or you don’t. And that’s all there really is to it.

Kids these days I tell you!


Everydays’ Day

I woke up today wanting to write. Wanting to be read. Wanting to start something new. Wanting to attempt to put in words a part of me that is untouchable.

Then I awoke.

Had a cup of hot, steaming coffee with fear on the side. The coffee went down, the self doubt rose.

I wondered if I had enough to say. If I had anything to say at all. I panicked. Not one of those full blown panic attacks but a slightly more manageable one that makes me look suspiciously from side to side like a little twitching bunny rabbit.

I went around all day peering intently at everything and everyone looking for something to write about, looking for a sign. A sign that would scream “You’ll be great at this, Don’t worry! Leap!”

It was a usual day, an everyday day. Nothing happened. Nothing at all. But I was not ready to give up yet. I sat myself down and prepared to write. Just then it dawned on me, this was going to be my first post on my first ever blog. I was a virginal blogger. My first words were going to be everything. It was going to be the writers’ equivalent of a first kiss. It had to be perfect. It’d be something I’d remember forever. I couldn’t possibly use phrases like “it dawned on me!” What was I thinking!

Dejected, I ran into the strong and reassuring arms of ‘research’ like I do when I feel lost. And lost I was. What is everyone who is blogging get started with? I browsed through some firsts. And I was convinced more than ever that this wasn’t my cup of tea. Old English phrases though, right up my alley!

I couldn’t rest in the sweet embrace of an auspicious day, because today, the 27th of October 2012, is the chapatti-bhaji equivalent of a calendar date in the culinary world. It wasn’t New Years where I could dole out a positive list of yet unhappened firsts, or a whimsical look at the year gone by. It wasn’t my mom’s birthday where I could write an emotional and yet humourous piece filled with glossy pictures of the cake I baked her, aptly demonstrating my writing, baking and photographing abilities! It isn’t Independence Day where a passionate ‘let’s all get together and save the world’ type post would be valid either. It was just today. An everydays’ day.

May be an intense ‘Beverly talking to Beverly’ type rant was in order. May be my first post had to be something vulnerable and beckoning. Who am I? What is this thing we all call life? But then again, why should you care? What about the ramblings of an ex-teen with the soul of an eighty year old would ever possess you to keep reading for a moment longer? Much less, return for seconds or thirds?

Ah! I was in turmoil! T-U-R-M-O-I-L! Warring with myself internally, trying to figure out how I was going to present myself to the world as this humourous, glamourous and any other magical and fantastical word that ended with –ous human being. I was treating this as my very own Gossip Girlesque Cotillion.

Halfway between writing an unreal rant and googling for the correct spelling of “Cotillion”, I arrived at an answer. A simple everyday answer, an answer inspired by today’s everydays’ day.

I’m not. I won’t. I can’t.

My life is not pre-written. It’s not pre-arranged. It can’t be drafted out or edited and formatted to fit a certain genre or appeal to a certain group of people. Do I want to reach people? Yes. Do I want people to find a tiny corner of happiness when they visit this blog? Yes, most definitely. But, I cannot lie or be unreal about things. I cannot promise that I will write about food yet uneaten, or books yet unread, or memories yet unlived. I’m not going to present myself and life as a molten chocolate covered drippy donut. I honestly don’t know whether I will serve you anything more than the everyday chapatti-bhaji, but my hope is that in that rawness, in that feeling of being able to relate, in that everydayness, you will come back for just one more bite.

And as I sat down to write, the universe, or in my case, a universally loved radio station doled out Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten”. Oh! How I love the universe! A perfect everydays’ day!