A letter to the city I fell for

Dear You,

As my life in college comes to an end, I like to look back and see how my days in the glorified institution went. It’s been a hell of a ride. And the end is very near now but still doesn’t seem that way.

When I started college, I had imagined it to be vastly different from my school life. However, expectation and reality rarely do match up. In college I met so many new people. Formed bonds and learnt things that I’d have never known if I’d been stuck in the hellhole of home. Home comforts you. Home is safe. But at the same time home is blinding. Moving to a new place will always give you a new perspective. And for this I am thankful to my mother, who insisted of pushing me out of my comfort zones. To come and study in a new city, where I didn’t know the language, and I barely knew the people. What was pop culture here, may not have been back home. The slang they used was new. Even their tea was different, making me switch over to drinking coffee which the South is known for anyway. Slowly, I began to fall in love with this city. It’s friendly attitudes towards the modern youth as well as its unfriendly behaviour towards those who were outsiders. I complained a lot when I first came to the place. I was annoyed. Leaving behind everything I had known. But now I step of the plane and smile because I feel I am home again. I will never forget the lessons that this city has taught me. Whether it’s the larger philosophical questions of life or even how to manage my finances, this place made me learn it all. And it did so without mercy. It taught me to respect and love the language I was born with, and inspired love for art in me. It taught me t become conscious of those around me and made me come face to face with adversities that I was made to battle head on. It bred an atmosphere of learning and a place for self-growth. Throughout my first year I would complain about the city and about how living here was difficult, but as soon as I fit into the groove, found a place I could call home and go to at the end of the day, to collapse gratefully onto my welcoming bed I began to find the love that I had for this city. For it’s cheap yet delicious eating options, for the way you get that one autowaala who speaks to you in English and agrees to take you home without asking for “50 rupees extra madam”. For all the different ways they make biryani, each with its own charms. And mostly oh mostly for it’s unpredictable weather, (as if Gong Yoo is nearby and can’t make up his mind about what he wants to feel at the moment… sorry for those who don’t watch k-dramas and haven’t seen Goblin).

A lot of my learning was facilitated by my teachers. People whom I have incomparable respect for. You guys were instrumental in filling the gaps in my learning, encouraging me to take an interest in things that I found too difficult to understand before. Thank you for not looking at me like some delusional idiot with fanciful ideas when I came to you with them. Thank you for teaching me the value of being passionate about something and being able to work on it to make it your goals. If the city has an ability to breed a sense of learning, it only happens because of people like you, who open up the floodgates of learning and of knowledge. To lay yourselves out like that for us every single day, bring us to the level of wisdom that is required of us is not a simple task and for that I cannot express my gratitude properly enough. It isn’t enough to say that it’s been a pleasure to have your lectures in class, because our relationship evolved from just the classroom to beyond. Whether it was a late-night text confirming something about the syllabus or if we just collapsed on your table at the end of a long day (I’m looking at you Noori) you were there. For this, thank you so much. The friendships we formed with you (and please allow me to call it that because I honestly feel that way.) are so unlike anything I’ve ever had before, thank you for making it comfortable enough for it to bloom. From fangirling, to being scolded, to understanding what would have otherwise been unacceptable excuses and extension of deadlines, thank you.

My classmates and friends and my seniors, you have given me so much. you shared your tiffin with me your laughter and your jokes. Because of you I believe that there is still good in this world. You guys have constantly supported whether it was make-up or it was notes for a subject you came through. You have given me so much even if I didn’t ask. you were the ones who would cheer for small accomplishments that would spur me on to getting the bigger ones. If I felt unhappy you guys were there to listen and to offer help. I really don’t know any other group that is so varied and yet so tightly knit. We may have our own differences but every one puts those aside to help each other. You respect each other and love each other and me and I want to really from the bottom of my heart say thank you for that.

My best friends. Would I even be alive right now if it weren’t for you! The Western Acoustics team of 2017-2018, thank you guys for giving me the confidence to go up on stage and fall in love with music once again. You made practice bearable, with all the bad jokes and the off-key notes. Sru, you make me happy everytime I see you, even though it was in our last year I am so glad I can actually call you a good friend rather than just an acquaintance. Dolly, you somehow managed to get me out of the slumps that I could never bring myself to talk to anyone about. Thank you for being there, after college, when everyone had left, when we would walk around in Shantinagar and be hopeless. Kim, my beautiful wife, for being the mom-est mom. Your level of love and affection is difficult to find in people. When you activated your mom friend mode it was hard to really come out and say anything against you. Mor Mor, you were an idiot sometimes, but without you I wouldn’t be half as invested in politics as I am now. You were the Wikipedia article on so many isues that I’d have never have known of if you hadn’t told me in simple terms. Nayn, if there was anyone I’d talk about dogs and sushi to in one sentence it’d probably be you. Thank you for the Wai Wai. More importantly thank you for the stories. You should really write them down and sell a book. Dareen. I kept you last because you suck. (not really tho). If it weren’t for you, I’d still be stuck in second year. The things you have done for me I can never forget. We’ve had our differences but it pales in comparison to the moments we have cherished together. The food, the drink, the musicals we watched when we were supposed to be studying. That time we spent money to pet some cats for an hour or so… thank you for sticking with me ever though I annoyed you to death. Even though I was cranky, moody, ecstatic or hungry. Thank you. It’s hard to live life with out best friends. So, thank you to each and every one of you.

Finally, to my roommate. If anyone who hasn’t lived away from home ever suddenly has to do so the one piece of advice I’d offer to them would be to find a good roommate. More than someone who is clean and not too noisy, one needs to find someone similar to them. Living alone is hard anyway, so to have a person living with you who doesn’t match makes it more and more difficult. Roommate, I have been closer to you that I have been with any other person in my adult life. And that’s not just because our beds are an arm’s length away from each other. You made living in this tiny space bearable and I couldn’t have been happier without your presence. I know I have annoyed you several times and made you want to kill me (the feeling is mutual). But you have been the best roommate that I’ve ever had. It had been a stroke of luck to meet someone like her, we shared similar music tastes, similar ideologies and the two of us were able to get along when it was needed the most. No other person would have woken up at 4 in the morning and given a cold compress to me when I was suffering from 104 fever. No one else would scold me for keeping my bottle out of place. And no one else made me as comfortable in the room as you have. (Proximity has never been a problem for us.)


Living in a different city can be hell. It can be the wort thing that you ever experience. I know that this place might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly wasn’t mine, but with the right kind of people it might just become your cup of coffee. And so, the people who made my life in this city like that perfect cappuccino I am indebted. I don’t know what the future has in store for me. I don’t know where I’m going. But I am beyond grateful for the experiences that I have had in this place all of which I could not have had without you. My dear new city, you have given me so much, in these three years. All the pain, the love, the comfort, the losing, the winning, you gave me so much of it. I’m so glad I got to know you.

Love from,


Dear Fatophobe

screenshot_2015-02-16-11-12-38-1.png The other day you stared at me in the cute dress I was wearing. I thought it was cute until you pointed at me in it and laughed. I never hated wearing it more after that moment. The day my friend wore something similar you told her how hot she looked. The rolls of flesh on my body recoil and try to hide themselves, only they have nowhere to go. So they ask me to cover them up. And I do. Heat of summer and I’m fully covered. The white vines that sneak up and down my body, around my stomach and my thighs are hidden from view. Like brilliant lightning bolts covered by thick, heavy, clouds. Thick, heavy clothes.


You appeared out of the blue that day. Was it the smile on my face that irritated you or the fact that I wasn’t dressed particularly nicely? A large tee shirt, my glasses, and jeans; and you decided you were remarkably clever and so asked me why I looked like an ‘obese Harry Potter’. Maybe you thought it was inconsequential at the time. Most probably you’ve forgotten about it. But I haven’t. It still hurts me to think of it. I wish it didn’t though…

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You stood surrounded by so many people. So popular, wanted and accepted. But it wasn’t enough. You had to make them laugh.

So, you saw my body as an easy target and said, “If you were a Pokémon, you’d be Snorlax.


I know my Pokémon, I know Snorlax.  And at that time, I knew that Squirtle was waiting to open the flood gates behind my eyes. It was funny for you. But it wasn’t for me. And it still isn’t.

I see you when you stare at me while I’m eating. Whispering to your friends how I shouldn’t, and how that’s probably all I do all day. It’s fascinating how you know so much about my life. Almost stalkerish I’d say. At the same time, when you see me run you stare and laugh. Fat girls doing normal things is the best form of entertainment when you’re bored, right?

So I cut down on food. And then get hungry and binge. After which I feel guilty and run to the toilet and force it out. It tastes horrible, coming back. And it burns my throat but it has to be done.


Be skinny

And you don’t just stop there, do you? You pick on the skinny girls as well. Say she needs to have more meat on her bones. Why? Are you a dog that will eat her? Crunch on her bones? Slobber over her flesh? Don’t I fit the bill for that? It’s like we’re nothing more than things to provide for you. 6c009767ff520b45caef55d4351d3ade

What pleasure do you get? Is it really funny to see someone’s smile fade away from their face after you insult them? Does it give you some kind of special high to stand around and poke fun at my body? To compare me to others things as if I’m a simple object that feels nothing. That has no mind, no skills of comprehending what you say? You tell me that you’ve been there yourself and people have done it to you. You know the pain associated in that case. You should know how much it hurts. To have everything going beautifully and then, have it crash down upon you because you aren’t seen as worthy. Because my body isn’t pleasing to you if it doesn’t follow the norm. And because I break the rules I should not be accepted into your ranks. Because that is how I feel. Short and fat, with rolls on my stomach that were called truck tires when I showed them to people. Arms, poked and prodded, made fun of for being fat. Every morning, I look in the mirror and hope, to someday, look such a way, that I don’t get up and feel like an outcast.tumblr_static_tumblr_static_filename_640

What is it that you get out of seeing a person cry? To see their day, turn from a good one to a completely shitty one after you open your mouth? The power you hold is great. Really. You look me up and down and make me feel so miniscule and unimportant. Your ever-sharpening wit that brings up new ways of insulting and hurting. You ridicule, and you know what, it hurts okay. It really hurts. Because no matter how many times I tell myself that you aren’t worth worrying about it’s not easy to stay afloat when your ship is being shattered by cannons on all sides.



A fat girl.



Ray of sun that tries desperately to enter the filter of the leaves. 

Brittle snow that melts away slowly off the slanting rooftop, 

Ochre summer wind blows to have a door slammed in its face. 

Only waiting to be wanted but never invited.
Like the paper plate that’s thrown, on the rubbish heap.

Once it’s done being used and can’t be used anymore…

The trash that collects, lying together, rotting, reeking.

Only waiting to be wanted, never taken in. 
Frayed aglet on the end of a rich man’s shoe,

Bottle of nail polish that’s gone clumpy over time,

Sock that’s developed one to many hole.

Thrown away without second thought
Large, loud, unconventional, strange,

Weird habits that can’t explained.

Normal people, they fail to understand.

Only waiting to be wanted, but no one to take this hand. 
Left behind and left alone; no place to call own.

Fell into the cool abyss of monochrome;

Life in shades of darker greys: not rosy rays

Only waiting to be wanted, always taken for granted. 

My Grandmother Died. 

The day after Christmas is now forever going to be, for me, the day my grandmother died. Christmas celebrations weren’t as lively this time. She had been taken to the nursing home in mid-November due to respiratory issues. The day she was brought back was the same day I came back home. She came back in the morning while I landed at night. Though it was late, she’d told my mother specifically to wake her up when I reached. Her face was swollen and she looked awful. I felt bad for stirring her and told her to go back to sleep. We could talk in the morning.  This was the 23rd. 

When the doctor in the nursing home released her, apparently, she was much better. On the way back, the car fell into many potholes on the road. I guess her health fell with it. At home, she was perpetually on oxygen. She was unable to eat practically anything, both because of restrictions as well as because of desire. And had an entire shop worth of meds. She had lost her will to live. And who wouldn’t when all you’re allowed to have is only one litre of liquid through the day…

I hadn’t even considered the possibility of her getting worse from when I’d last come. But she did get worse. Now she was bedridden. She couldn’t even sit up without support. She couldn’t get up without being hauled up like a sack of potatoes. She kept on needing oxygen. She needed my parent’s for almost everything. The entire night was without sleep. 

On the morning of the 25th, Christmas Day, I had accompanied my mother to church. On the way back, my father called. He had decided that the best possible course of action was to have the dialysis done. We returned home and the ambulance was called. I helped the men put her on the stretcher and watched them carry her away to the nursing home. 

I remember, in the start of December, my brother called me to ask me what date I’m coming home.  I told him I’d be back before Christmas. It was then that I had the feeling. Was she waiting for me to come back? Was she merely holding on for just that? 

The morning of the 26th my mother called me while I was still in bed. It was early by my standards. My 6:30 alarm had just rung and I’d silenced the infernal buzzing and gone back to sleep. Mummas shaking woke me immediately. I knew what she had to say even before she said it. “The hospital called. It’s not good. They’re asking us to go right now.” It didn’t take me long to pull on my jeans and the closest t-shirt I could find and get ready to leave. By the time we left, it was almost 7. 

The hospital was close by, when I used to go to the school there, we would drive past it every morning on the usual bus route. Upon reaching the hospital my father went up to her room. A while later he came down and said that they had been trying to revive her and since the process was still on he should wait downstairs. And so, we waited. In silence. I put my hand in my pocket and found my crushed up boarding pass from my flight two days before. I fiddled with it. In my other pocket, I found the hair tie my roommate had gifted me. I fiddled with that too. I wondered how many people were told about the death of their of their loved ones in the same place that we were sitting. I wondered if it happened like in the movies where a doctor wearing a long white coat comes to greet the family and looks sad for them and they all burst into tears and mourn the death. I looked at my shoes and wondered about if anyone would care as much as I did that they didn’t need laces. 

It wasn’t like the movies. About half an hour later my father was called and he came bearing the bad news. He may have been a doctor but he wasn’t the right doctor. He didn’t have a white coat. My father had called my uncle asking him to come to the hospital. He called him again and told him to come to our home instead. 

We didn’t want him to but Baba insisted on driving back. I think it was because he didn’t know what else to do with himself at that time. We rode back in silence. I looked out the window and saw the people setting up shop. The early morning market place was doing full-fledged business, buying and selling things. I wanted to scream at them. Tell them that my grandmother is dead. I don’t know why. I just wanted to. I wanted them to tell me what to do because I didn’t know what to do myself.  

We reached home without me flinging myself out of the car. Then came the job of calling everyone.  All the relatives. First, family was told. Then neighbours and friends. The same thing. Almost like a record. I didn’t cry. I only sat and watched. I looked at the events unfolding around me. The cat looked at us from the sofa she slept on. Oblivious to the gravity of the situation. People running up and down all on phones. I sat. No one to call. No one to talk to. Ready to be told to do something, but not being summoned for anything. But I sat. If I got up it would be shameful. I don’t know why, but it would. I wanted to do something. I wanted to be useful. I just didn’t know how. 

The hospital called for us to bring some clothes for her body. I remembered then that when my grandfather had died I hadn’t cried till they brought in the body. I wondered if I needed that physical proof that the person is gone to actually feel the death hit me.

As time went by and people got the news, the house slowly started to get filled with people. Either offering their support or coming in to mourn with the family. We were kept busy. Chairs were brought out from dusty corners. Dusted. Cats were moved from their sleeping spots and told to go and sleep elsewhere. Ideally, somewhere where a human wouldn’t be sitting. I sat away from the prying gaze of relatives. Away from the crying and wailing of men and women who had known the woman longer than I. I sat and I thought. My mind felt clear. It was a good time to think. To plan out my work. All the work that I had left for the holidays. All the work I had been postponing. I should get down to doing it. Things were going to change now. 

Usually when I go back home I refrain from telling people. So, when I finally came out of the room I was asked, “Oh, did you come hearing the news?” Sometimes mum came to my rescue and answered for me. At other times, I had to say, “No. I’m on break. I came before…” But the reply to that was always the same. And I hated it. “Oh, so she waited for you to come.” Why did she wait for me to come, to die? How am I supposed to feel about that?

When I had gone with my father to the hospital to give the clothes that they had asked for, on the drive there he told me, “Grief is a very selfish emotion.” I agree with him. It is a selfish emotion. Was Dida also so selfish that she waited for me, only to die? Is that what these people meant. “Oh well at least she got to see you/ you got to see her.”  I mean would she have lived longer had I not come? Is that what you’re trying to say? And I pondered on this for a while when I escaped and went into the veranda. But there were people walking about outside also. I suppose there aren’t enough chairs… The cat jumped in and stopped between the grills when she saw me. I looked at her and her green eyes widened and she jumped back out. I looked out to make sure no dogs would chase her. The inside of the house was now stuffy and hot. In the middle of winter Kolkata still wasn’t feeling the regular chill that would previously make our teeth chatter. “The earth is dying…” I thought to myself as I took out water to drink. “And we are all dying with it…”

The hospital, according to some rule, only releases the body 5 hours after the death of the patient. This meant that the release should have been at around 12 noon since the time of death was registered at around 8 A.M. When the body finally came, it was around 2 PM. My great aunt had travelled all the way over from Barrackpore and arrived as the hearse van arrived. I rushed out to bring her in. She broke down even before entering the house. After I helped her in the body was brought in and put in the centre of the living room. I had helped carry the coffee table out into the back veranda earlier to make space. 

Flowers. So many flowers. So typically Bengali; to have Rajnigandha. Big green stalks with several white buds and some opened petals. The sweetness of the smell hit our noses. But the death still didn’t hit me. I stood behind everyone. Peering in from the gaps. Finally, I gave up. The cat sat perched on top of the fridge staring down from her vantage point. Then she got down and manoeuvred between the sea of legs – both human and furniture – and reached the centre where the body lay. She sniffed it and then retreated to underneath the sofa, watching. I still didn’t cry. I don’t know why I was waiting to cry. I didn’t feel any tears. I don’t show tears so easily. So why was I waiting to cry. As the body was taken out into the community hall I thought. “Maybe I feel like I need to cry because I need to show them I am in mourning. People don’t believe you’re sad until you actually have tears running down your cheeks, do they?” I put on my shoes to go out to see the body leave. The last time I’d ever see my grandmother. “Physical proof is everything to people nowadays. I need to show that I’m sad or they’ll think I’m a heartless bitch.” I walked outside. My cousin sister, whom I had grown very close to a few years ago, was there. Her family had driven over as soon as they got the news. Her eyes were red and puffy. She had glittering streaks running down her cheeks. She came over to hug me. I hugged her tightly. I was so happy to see her. I still did not cry. It funny how a time of mourning can bring together people. I hadn’t seen her in ages and here she was now, crying along with the rest of my extended family. 

The hearse van comes. The white swaddle is lifted and pushed inside. People get into the cars. My brother gives me his copy of the key to the house because this time he will be going to the crematorium. When my grandfather died, it was I who had gone with my father. He stayed behind with my grandmother. My father refused to hug me before he left. I don’t know why. Did he also think that I wasn’t mourning enough? That I needed to be crying. I needed those tears to be falling down my face in order to receive a little comfort. I don’t know. 

As the white van carrying the body drove out, my eyes stung. Hot droplets spilled out, instantly chilled by the air. My chest heaved and I released unattractive hiccupping sounds. I really hated 2016… 

The Art of Smiling

I seem to have mastered the art of smiling. No one can tell anymore that its faked. I’m so good at it that sometimes I even fool myself while doing it. It’s simple to do once you know how. You have to lift one side of your mouth. Flash a little tooth. But not too much. Make sure that you aren’t smiling too much. That looks weird and people catch on. Lift your eyebrows ever so slightly when you do it. This will make your eyes appear wider and bigger. And light source will reflect off your irises easily to make it look like your eyes are sparkling. Everyone knows sparkling eyes are a sign of happiness. 

The next thing to learn is the duration. If it’s a chance meeting on the stairs make sure not to stop smiling until you have passed the person completely. Dropping the smile too quickly is dangerous as the one you are smiling at may see the sudden change and know that the smile wasn’t genuine. However, this isn’t hard at all. Chance staircase meets are short and get over quickly. When you are in a group, that’s when things get hard. You need to hold it for longer then. Sometimes even throw in a laugh here and there. Mostly it’s better to just sit it out. Go home and curl up where people can’t see, sometimes it’s not easy to run away. Oh well. In cases like these it’s better to have a bigger smile than usual. Take the corners of your mouth upwards. Make sure your cheeks rise considerably. Your eyes should become thinner. If you can manage all these things you are doing it right. The next thing that you want to be able to do is shake your shoulders slightly, while doing this you can even laugh gently. That really makes it all come together. 

I’ve mastered faking laughs so well that even I can’t tell the difference sometimes. Laughs are loud and unattractive. They are ugly and gross but they are happy. On occasion, you can try to make them so much better by adding in a snort. For some reason, other people find snorts very funny. Oh well, if they’re laughing at the snort, you won’t have to keep up the laugh for so long. You can also try staring off into the distance. I tend to drop out of conversation so often people have given up talking to me in big groups. I don’t do well in big groups. All my dreams of being popular when I grow up have done a complete 180. I’m not popular. I’m a dork. I’m a nerd. I’m an outcast and a misfit. Even among those whom I call my own I don’t feel one. 

It’s only when I’m alone that I truly feel that I belong. Not with anyone. But with only myself. I find myself able to smile to myself. Laugh at myself. Sing to myself. Dance with myself. I guess I’m just special that way. That the art of smiling, comes naturally to me, and to me only.

“You feel so violated it’s sickening…” 


When I started writing this I had no idea I would get such a huge response. I went to my WhatsApp and asked many people one question. “If you have had an experience with sexual harassment and would like to share it with me for an article please message me.” There was a tidal wave. So many people sharing their stories. So many women telling me about how helpless they felt about how horrible it was. I didn’t know how to respond even to some. There were people I’d never spoken to before sharing their stories. This was definitely the toughest piece I’ve ever written. I’ve kept all names confidential. I also never want to read this piece again. It was hard enough to write. 

I always thought that if I were ever touched inappropriately I would kick up a fuss. Probably break the perpetrators hand off. I was wrong. The first time it happened I tried to shrug it off telling myself it was just a mistake or it was something. That he didn’t mean to do it. But the second time I knew it was not. It was done purposely and it was real. It was happening. In my state of shock, the feeling of awkwardness that overtook me was something so overwhelming that I, the one who would always encourage people to stand up for themselves and speak out, was unable to say a single word to defend myself. To defend my body which was so subtly and yet disgustingly violated.  
But this is something that as women we face not just everyday but all the time. From dress codes policing our body to the old creepy men on the road who stare at us to the complete stranger trying to get a phone number. We face it all. And it is scary. In a discussion with my friends, I told them how angry I was with myself for not retaliating to what had happened and they told me that they too had gone through the same. It seems that this is something that we have numbed ourselves to! We just simply go along with it as if it’s a regular part of our day! S tells me how a man pinched her breasts when she was in the 8th grade, when she was on her way to church. She was too shocked to understand what had happened. “When they show girls going into a shell after anything like this I always wondered why.” She said. “Then I realised, you feel so violated it’s sickening!” She tells me that every time she thought about what happened she had felt like throwing up. 

When A was in 11th grade, on the bus home from school she was harassed. “He was leaning against me and I didn’t mind so much because the bus was crowded” She later realised he had been rubbing his genitals against her shoulder. When she glared at him he moved away but she said she could feel him staring. “I just got off the bus.” In some cases, retaliating makes us look like crazy emotional monsters. People stare weirdly and no one comes to help. T tells me of how when her butt got smacked in the middle of a busy road, not one person came to help her. When she screamed at the pervert who did it she was laughed at by bystanders and ignored by the policeman standing there. “It was just so embarrassing!” 

It feels like staring has become obsolete. Groping and touching is the new in thing now. And it is spreading like wildfire. Forget what a woman is wearing, forget what she is doing. They are just silly excuses that we hear. Silly excuses to defend the entitlement of patriarchy. “There was this time when I was in 8th. I was walking back home from school. My home was in a posh and calm neighbourhood, so I had my guard down. I kept walking down the road to my house, when this man- a worker from one of the construction sites nearby- stepped in my path. I was taken aback, but merely curious about what he wanted- up and until he pulled his dick out of his pants. That was where I freaked out and ran, all the way back to my home. I couldn’t sleep properly the next couple of days, because it disturbed me that much.” R tells me. She went on to casually point out how there’s always something that happens in crowded buses, shocking me into realisation that this is exactly how much we’ve numbed ourselves to this kind of thing. K and G haven’t though. G says, “Once I was sitting in the bus on the way back home when the guy sitting behind me slipped his hand between my seat and the glass window and groped me. It must have looked like I was sleeping which is probably why he thought he’d get away with it, but I turned around and fired him. He acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about and everyone else looked at me like I was deranged.” K had a similar thing happen to her. However, she smartly took pictures of it happening and the conductor of her bus and the people around made the man get off the bus immediately when they got to know. K also recalls the time she was stopped on the road by a man she’s never met before who offered her a ride back home in his car, telling her he finds her very pretty. She says he told her, “Please don’t think I’m a creep I was just hoping to strike a conversation with you!” it was only when she told him strongly to stop that he actually did and finally left her alone. 

The fact that something like this is becoming so regular and almost common place is ridiculous. So many times women are harassed and molested and nothing is being done. We are told that we should not have been doing things and we should not have done things. It’s like we are punished for having bodies. Instead of telling us to refrain from going out in the dark, and wearing clothes they call ‘inappropriate’ what should be said is not to us but to those who harass, instead. Unfortunately, the punishment for being born anything less than a “man” is such. The worst part is that the artful way in which such disgusting acts are so often carried out are often glossed over by many. The discomfort and awkwardness that is created is never understood. I guess you really don’t understand till it happens to you. 

(All names have been kept confidential in order to protect the identities of the women I have spoken to in order to allow them to speak freely.)

Jack the Ripper

​Toward the end of the Victorian era, there were a set of very grisly murders that took place mainly in the east end of London. The serial killer was named Jack the Ripper and was called this owing to the way in which they would rip into their victims and remove their organs. Their identity is still unknown to this day.

The rain that falls outside caresses the glass of the window gently. Golden drops reflecting the street light outside. The fog lies heavy over the town. No respectable person is out at this time of night. Even those of the East End have scurried away to some hovel in the back end of their boxed in homes. 

There is one person outside however. Cloaked to protect themselves in the terrible wet conditions, a hat covering their eyes from any unlucky spectator and a blade hidden in the pockets of that large cloak. Wrapped up well to preserve the shine. To prevent the moisture of the surrounding areas from damaging the blade.

Invisible to the human eye, at least for now, the Collector stands high above the streets. Death scythe in hand she waits, her empty eyes show no sign of remorse or sorrow for what is to happen. She is merely here to do her job. Collect the souls of the dead and leave. Tonight it shall happen slowly and carefully. She has no emotion in her. To her it is another soul among the countless human souls that are being taken from all over the world. In any case, she is forbidden from interfering in the issues that plague the human world.

She watches them walk briskly and deliberately. They have a motive in mind. Around the corner, then the next, cutting through the fog that closed up, swallowing their cloaked figure from behind. But she with her supernatural eyesight can see. The cloak stops in front of a dilapidated home. Inside there is a dim light that struggles to find its way through the grime that covers the windows. The carefully wrapped blade is drawn, and opening the rotting wood door with ease they step inside. A few moments later there is screaming that is quickly silenced. The Collector looks around. Nobody else has heard. Her attention is drawn back to the entrance of the house where the cloaked figure is dragging out a woman. Presumably the one who screamed inside the house. She is beautiful by human standards. Pale skin and a petite body covered only in a dirty white dress. She is alive still, but barely just. 

The collector watches as she is strangled properly by the cloaked figure. Black and purple bruises start to appear on her neck where the rope lovingly embraces it now. And as they do her pulse fades away and her spirit starts to appear next to the Collector. The collector makes her move to take the spirit to the next world but she looks at her with pleading eyes. The spirit is just as filthy as her body was. Covered in mud and hair all a mess but something about her gaze makes the Collector feel sorry for her. “You can stay till the end but after that you must come with me.” 

“I thank ye greatly me lady” the spirit tells her. They turn their attention back to the cloak. Satisfied with his work, strangling her, he takes his blade and rips through her throat spraying blood all over the pavement and the street. Then slowly and what seems to be lovingly they caress the body of the woman and soon get rid of all the organs from her putting them inside the cloak.

Hearing a scream beside her, the collector turns to look at the spirit who is flying down to the cloaked figure. She follows in hast but doesn’t reach them in time to stop the spirit from pushing her murderer down. As her death scythe slices the spirit, sending her straight to the underworld, the cloaked figure rises. They stumble to their feet, blood drips from their body onto the pavement and mingles with the grime. The collector watches as the figure stumbles toward the pier, their own blade sticking out of their chest. When they trip and their hat falls off, long yellow hair cascades down. She falls over the edge right into the murky waters of the river, never to be seen again… 


When you say I’m beautiful, what do you really mean? What do you want to imply when you say that I look pretty? When you hadn’t noticed me before but I suddenly caught your eye, what do these words mean? You, the man who has so many falling at his feet. Why do you notice me now? What makes you say such things that you know I will like to hear?  When you tell me these things I feel like a swallow. I am flying in the air. I am light, free, and yet I am tied to the earth. Forced to come back down when you leave. That is how I felt with you. That is how I was. 
What do you mean when you tell me I am beautiful? Is it just another way of your getting me to fall to your feet like the thousand others you have enraptured. I see how they are, captivated by your words. Your laugh ensnares them. You know exactly what to say to make the yours, and each day you add to your collection. And me? Am I in it? Am I your prized possession? You had me. You caught me. And then let go. So I fell from my place in the skies. You plucked away the wings you once gave me and let me plummet to the ground. Your prized possession? I guess not. In the end, was I more than just another one of those that you used and threw away? I guess I didn’t make a dent. I was just another game to you and I lost while you walked away with everything that I did. And it’s been so long, yet I still know you. I remember you. 

And though it scares me to admit this, I miss you…

The Secret Life of Socks, Earphones, Hair Ties and, Bobby Pins

The earphones weren’t having it. All day they played amazing music for their master and they just had to sit there. Lying completely still while the music coursed through their veins. Beating out of their chest. So when they weren’t in use – shoved into a pocket or into a bag they would dance. With each other. And the others would watch. They’d dance, and dance, and dance, till they could dance no more. All sweaty and tangled they would be found the next time a mess of wires. This would make their master get frustrated and grumbling and mumbling they would untangle the two, Right and Left, from each other. To no avail because they’d just go do it all over again when they were out of sights. 

Socks watched the earphones at night. Lying in the basket of other clothes waiting to be washed. Sock 1 would look wistfully at them and wish he had their freedom. Sock 2 would scorn such practices and look away in disdain. Then while Sock 2 had her back turned, Sock 1 would slide out of the bucket and slither away into the night to mingle with the earphones. He didn’t like being on a smelly foot all day, only to be drowned in water and soap at night. He wanted the freedom of the earphones. He wanted to dance. But alas the cat saw him creeping across the floor and with one pounce he was in her mouth. She jumped outside into the garden and played with him while he tried his best to get away from her. But to no avail. When she finally let him go he was terribly lost, and had no idea how to get back home. Inside the house Sock 2 sighed as she waited and waited for her other half who never came back. 

The hair ties and bobby pins had had a hard day of work. They were tired from holding up all that hair. They wanted to escape but the cat would never let them. Looking down from the dressing table they saw the cat chasing after the sock. This was their chance! They jumped onto the ground and bobbed away to the open window. There they jumped out and landed in to soft grass without a sound. Rolling and bobbing away from the poor Sock and the cat they soon disappeared into the night to go to a land that is only accessible by them and no one else… 


To Single Parents…

This is an open letter to all single parents… I know I posted another open letter to my math teachers before, but this also needs to be written. Because this is something that I feel like I need to say.

Dear Single Parent,

It matters not whether you are male or female or whatever. Honestly it doesn’t. What matters is that your little monster, (your cupcake, pudding, pie, sweetie, whatever you call that child of yours) is getting all the love it needs from you.

I see you. I see the sweat on your brow as you single handedly bring up your child (or children) while simultaneously juggling all the responsibilities as a fully functioning adult. Sometimes people will tell you that you aren’t enough. They will look down on you and say some rubbish like “That child needs both a mother and a father!” Don’t listen to the poison they spew. You tell them that they only think that way because they they’ve been brought up to think that way. You are enough for the job. Don’t let the mindless societal thinking tell you that your effort is not worth anything because you are a single parent.

Oh my dear. Take a look at your child. Whichever one you can see. If you love them and raise them right (which I’m sure you do) they will be forever loving, you. They will see as they grow, that you as one simultaneously do the job that is mostly done by two. For that they will respect you. They will look up to you as a role model. Know the strength in you.

Don’t let some stupid stranger who doesn’t know any better tell you that you aren’t enough for your child. You are enough. Your child will agree with me. Perhaps they shall feel for a bit that they are different. You can teach them that it is that difference that makes them special too. Because differences create beauty. Differences are the fundamental right of any creature. It’s okay that they’re different. It’s okay to be a single parent.