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…


Where is God? 

Where is god? I do not know.
Is he in the homes of the suffering?

Where is god? In all this show

Of fire and bodies gathering.

Where is he when those whom he calls

His children are all fighting.

Does he come to help,

Offer some relief to the people who dying?
Is he there, when his flock

Murders in his name?

Does he hide when cruel men

Pass on the blame

Is he there when little creatures

Cry out for his help?

Is he here when evil persons

Wreak havoc and bring hell
Or has he left, ashamed

Of what humanity has become

And drifted far and

Far away from this human scum

For we may be his children but

It’s time that we grow up

See that while we’re different

We are all the same stuff
Blood and pain

Crying and shame

Laughter joy and all that remains

Deep down we’re all just human.

God or not.

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.

A letter to all the teachers who tried (and failed) to teach me math

Dear teacher. Math teacher. I would like to say to you (all of you) how very sorry I am. Sorry that you had to put up with teaching a dunce like me. Sorry that the pay probably wasn’t worth the completely blank looks I gave your faces after you had spent yet another hour trying to get me to understand the new sum. You probably hated looking at me. Well the feeling was definitely mutual. I’m sorry that you had to teach me. I mean we were both in pain. I’m pretty sure I was in more pain but we were both in pain. Because math, as a subject, was my kryptonite, and you were no Lois Lane.

But I am also sorry my dear math teacher, that you didn’t know how to teach math. You, stuck in your backward calculative ways of thinking didn’t manage to get it across to me. And I, the dreamer, the writer, the less numbers more colours one always fell victim to the cruelty of the math. I am sorry that you were taught that there is no other way to teach. I’m sorry that there was no imagination in you (or time thanks to the restraints of physics) for you to think up ways in which you could have taught me. So thank you, Math Teacher, for bringing me this far, still hating math completely and at the same time letting me know just how important it would be for me to know why ABC even shows up in the world of mathematics at all.

Suicide Silence (Trigger Warning)


There is a place, a land of dreams,

Not nightmares surely, no evil things.

A world away from the one we’re in,

But still very much happening.

I know this world has fun and games;

And joy and laughter ever exist.

This place so far, but yet so close,

A place we will not be morose.

Fancy princes, funny creatures.

Serious, wise men who are good teachers.

A place where everyone wants to be

A place that just belongs to me.

Time passes there as you wish,

In the blink of an eye or the blow of a kiss.

And you control this world at large

And do what you want to, at heart.

Castles and underwater escapades.

Magic mysterious is the place.

You’ll feel like never really leaving

But will be forced to when ‘reality’ stings

Returning is an easy thing,

Don’t be afraid of anything.

Because this world is yours to own,

You can come back even when you’re old.

You can be a hero or heroine,

And any battle, you will win.

Nothing will fade, no place is gone,

Everything waiting for you to return.

So come escape this world of tears,

Of sorrow, and despair, and fears.

The scars on your hand you will not see.

They’ll heal you in the healing waves of the sea.

And all the blood that went down the drain,

The shouting, screaming, lying, the blame,

Frustration that would never cease

The tears that just wouldn’t freeze.

The blades, the thought, the pills, the tie

Every time you made up some other lie,

And then the aching, lingering pain.

The constant attempt to escape this place.

The slitted wrists, the crying eyes.

Deyaced soul, the eager flies.

Come away, hide with them

These people are not enemies but friends.

So close your eyes and then retreat

Into your mind so close, so sweet.

And even then it’s far away,

So come on and enjoy your stay.

Remain for as long as you please

And from the cruel world find release.

I’ll also let you in on a secret.

There is one way you’ll never leave it.

And promise that you’ll never tell,

’Cause damn that secret’s really swell,

All it takes is a simple rope,

With Death beside, Life can elope.

Truly if you needed this break,

You’d know, no one would miss your face.

Take up the knife, swallow the pill,

Adrenaline rush; awesome thrill.

Drift away on broken wings

To the land where your heart sings.

The tears that fall after that

Will not-


Both images belong to http://aelathen.deviantart.com/

Of Fandomly Power…

How fandoms helped me adjust to new places


The girl from the North East beside me rises with a start. She sits up in the bed and rubs her face with her hands. It is dark, only the street light streams in through the half-open window. She turns her head to me, her name is Cat (that’s what I call her), she asks me in a trembling voice to hug her please. Straining on the please. She calls me Anna. Like her best friend she left behind in Shillong. I am awake. I wasn’t able to go to sleep. Strange ways my mind works where I can sleep at the drop of a hat when I want but for some reason I was awake that night. I was awake and able to rise and hug her and stay up with her for an hour to comfort her. We finally went to bed at two on the morning…


This small incident that happened, took me back to about a year ago. I had just shifted from living with my mother in my aunt’s house, to living in a hostel run by nuns. This worked because the hostel was right behind the college. It had a lot of rules but I didn’t think they’d actually be troublesome. For instance, all Catholics had to go to mass every morning at six, and there would be prayers at 7:40 before dinner that all the girls had to attend. They were new and thus didn’t have an internet facility and therefore promised to put one in. A lot was said. Everything was settled. My mother was happy. I was happy. Mom and my aunt scoured the hostel thoroughly. They went ahead and checked out the room, the bathrooms and everything. It definitely got my aunt’s approval. She liked the place and she made sure she was heard. She kept telling me that I wouldn’t find a place like it. She was right.


Cat is very different from me. She finds her place in the PG easily. She made friends with so many people so fast. She’s just a nice person to be around. On the first day of college I wore a Star Wars tee-shirt to the orientation. Desperately hoping that I’d attract the attention of like-minded people and in turn make some cool friends. In retrospect, I should have worn my Deathly Hallows tee shirt instead. There are so many more Harry Potter fans than Darth Vader fans in college… I made some friends though. Perhaps not on the first day. There was Steff. She was and still is the nicest one I’ve met so far. She is sweet and so understanding, ready to help always. But her I had met at the interview itself. On the first day I wasn’t exactly the one who made friends.

I did make a friend later though. Anjenny, as we now call her was coming down the stairs after my mom had dropped me off to college and told me class had been cancelled. This was theology class and the first hour of the day so we were pretty happy. We went down the stairs talking and I introduced her to mom whom I had asked to stand outside and wait in case we didn’t have class. She had worn a fandom tee. I remember it was a silhouette of the 11th Doctor and the T.A.R.D.I.S. Blue print on black. I excitedly told my mom about it. I felt like a child among all the other college students. I felt like they all looked down on me for not having the decorum and sophistication.


All the kids were taller, smarter, prettier, better dressed than I was. They fit in college. I looked like some weird school-reject potato in my home-made fandom tees and my not styled, wild hair. I was the most unglamorous and stuck out like a sore thumb among the glamorous. In a way I still do there are days in which I cannot bring myself to even wear eyeliner to look like I put some effort into my upkeep. But I learnt that none of that mattered. Because in the end there was so much more in college. College is a melting pot of culture. It’s a place for varied backgrounds and people with different thoughts and opinions. I am lucky to have not been harassed or ragged. Perhaps this is because I am a stronger person. There was one really mean guy whom I’ve blocked out of my memory who came up to me one day and asked me why I looked like an obese Harry Potter. I had been feeling so happy that day. I was laughing and having a good time. The minute I heard him say that my mood overturned. I suppose I won’t hold it against him. I don’t know what made him go to a complete stranger and say that but he did. Anyway. In the end I appreciated being seen a bit like my hero Harry. Even if it meant I was fat.


The day my mom left me in the hostel I was a bit low. I had Anjenny with me then, she was the only one I knew. The two of us walked far. The hostel curfew was 6:00pm. I wanted to stay out for as long as I could. We found a park and sat in it for so long. Finally going back when there were just a few minutes’ left for curfew time. I found my solace in the only Harry Potter book I was able to keep with me. My bed was too high; I didn’t know a single person apart from Anjenny who would go to sleep early. I was alone. But the book was my escape. That and my music. For the longest time I’ve found my refuge in the songs I listen to. You can’t ask me what genre I like because it’s so varied and there exists within it complete polar opposites. But My Chemical Romance has always been a standstill for me.


I had my place in the study room. I kept my things there. It was close to a single plug point that I would use to either charge my phone or my laptop. I needed it because my phone would run out of charge so often. And I needed my phone for the internet. Yes, I sound like a spoiled brat but quite frankly the net was the dark hole I needed to crawl into when I was alone. I made friends slowly. I still charged my phone. It was my link. The only link I had to people who were fanpeople like me. This became all the more important as life in my hostel (soon to be called ‘hostile’ by my friend Nayn) became all the more unbearable. I delved into the notoriously addictive T.V. show Supernatural. When the warden of the Hostile would do something to annoy us all I’d go back to my laptop, in my place beside the window, and I would watch. I would binge episodes at a stretch. And this didn’t seem to hamper my studies much because I got pretty good marks throughout. One more thing that becoming part of the Supernatural fandom has done for me is that it has given me a fandom family.


I’ve been in the Harry Potter fandom for a really long time. And after that I was a Whovian and then a Merlinian. I became part of the Supernatural fandom most recently. However, it is only in the Supernatural fandom that I felt the togetherness that could call us a family. The Supernatural fandom is huge. It has often been described as a cult and a lot of people are even scared of it. They have power. At the same time, these people are one of the nicest bunch I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with. I was accepted into a group on Facebook called Supernatural Shippers, but the group goes so far beyond shipping. (Shipping by the way is the act of pairing two characters together mostly romantically in this context.) I know that the days I was having problems in this new setting all it took was one post in that group telling them I was low and asking for help when my notifications were flooded with loving comments and helpful bits of advice. Even nice pictures! And I’m not the only one. There are so many others who ask and they too get the help they need. Often, I feel that the people on that group are more helpful to me than the people who are not on the internet.


It is true however that there is a lot of unnecessary hate among fandoms. There is always the people who are at odds with each other. There are always the ones who – for reasons unknown to me – like to start wars.  But the helpful outnumber these. When fandoms take up arms and rise against something it is scary. Because they do have the power to hurt and they do have the power to make great things happen. That many people, all over the world, united for one cause. They can make things happen. As a majority they can influence others.


I brought up my friend Cat for a specific reason. Cat and I became friends through fandom. When Cat first came she was mostly quiet. We didn’t really talk much. But then she asked me about the many Gerard Way quotes that I had stuck around the room, asking me if I loved the man or the band. I told her I liked both. She stayed quiet sneakily and then the next night she pulled on a My Chemical Romance tee-shirt to wear to bed making me gasp when I came out of the bathroom. She grinned at me and I asked her if she was a fan, and if that was why she asked me about the quotes… After that it was like an unbreakable bond had been formed between us. We stayed up till late at night singing songs (mostly My Chemical Romance songs), watching musicals, or just simply talking, but it wouldn’t have happened that way if it wasn’t for MCR.

The number of times fandoms have helped me adjust is uncountable. In some ways I depend on fandom to make friends. It’s become the shield I take out with me every day when I go to face the world. Merchandise is expensive, so I make my own. I base so much of my work off fandom references. I am the Fangirl.


That Scalding Satisfaction


Steam rises off the bucket of water I’ve collected this evening; like most evenings. Even though the cold water runs into it, there is enough of the cloud to rise and fog my red glasses.

I gather up my soap, shampoo, and conditioner. I don’t take in my towel. I will come out for that. In the dim yellow light, I pull the full bucket to rest in front of me. Some of the water spills over. Splashing my feet. I wince. The water is scalding. I dip my hand in, let it sink to the bottom of the bucket. Deep inside. My hands can take it. They’re used to harsher things. The cold air caresses my back coaxing the goose bumps on my skin to rise higher. They stand at attention, anticipation rippling through my flesh.

I pick up my blue mug. Dip the plastic into the water. The first wave burns. Searing into my skin as it cascades down the broad expanse of my back. A thousand tiny fires lit and extinguished at the same time as the water travels between my breasts, right down to my toes where it splashes, merging into the bathroom floor. My skin prickles. It is unsure if it wants to remain in the cold or if it wants another painful wave. But it has no choice. The painful wave is what it gets. The heat of the water soothes the strange aches in my body. My shoulder that was aching all day, it’s like the heat pulls away at whatever is in there causing the dull incessant pain. It strips away at the grease and the grime of the day like a strong breeze, banishing a cloud. The mirror is fogged thanks to the heat on its otherwise cool surface.

Raw and pink. Tender, softened down by the water’s harsh training. My skin feels alive…

The Hoarder in Us All

Hoarding. Verb. Accumulate and hide or store away.
Hoard. Noun. A large amount of something valuable that is kept hidden. (Miriam- Webster) 

Compulsive Hoarding. Also known as Hoarding Disorder. A pattern of behaviour that is characterised by excessive acquisition and an inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that cover the living areas of the home and cause significant distress or impairment. (Wikipedia) 

In almost every person you know there is a hoarder. Apart from a miniscule number of people the act of hoarding is something every person does do whether it’s unknowingly or knowingly. This piece explored a college environment to see what the average person is like in terms of collecting and keeping things. 

Many people do hoard. From the time that I have been able to understand things around me I have learnt this. My grandfather was a hoarder. He kept everything he came across that he thought could be more useful. After his death, when my grandmother was cleaning out his almirah she found things inside that were both useless– to us– as well as strange. We found a large stack of 2 Rupee notes. There must have been over a 100 of them in there. For many it’s all about nostalgia. Tresa says “I hoard the things I find memories in.” There’s no specific for her. “It can be a pencil to a keychain.” She tells me while sitting in our noisy canteen.  For Ashwin hoarding means something similar. “Probably things from my childhood.” He says after thinking a moment.

Kritika is a guitar string hoarder. She says, “At times it does (annoy me), because it occupies stupid space in my cupboard, but other than that, it’s completely fine.” She goes on to say that if anyone tells her to stop her habit she wouldn’t care and would go on doing what she does.

Sometimes the act of hoarding might just signify a person’s determination and perseverance. As Amala tells me softly, “They have a lot of patience. If they are interested they will keep things” 

Hoarding doesn’t seem to have annoyed people that do hoard things. On the contrary they have regretted throwing away things. Things they wished they hadn’t. Ashwin confirms my theory but refrains from telling me what it is he has thrown away. Kritika on the other hand reminisces with a slight grimace as she recalls painful times, “Books. Not really thrown but sold.” Sharon who says she doesn’t hoard at all sympathises with the hoarder. “It’s too addictive. When they start they don’t stop” Sharon says that since her friends are hoarders, she feels left out sometimes. She wishes that she wasn’t a person who would throw everything away. “My first boyfriends gift” She says, wishing she still had it.

However, she would not like to spend her life with a hoarder. “I would try to change the guy!” She exclaims after vehemently saying a series of ‘no’s like she doesn’t even want to think about it. Similarly, Amala says, “Maybe he’ll change his mind…” looking horrified at the prospect of having to live with a hoarder.

 Tresa says she would be disturbed if she had to live with a hoarder. “After a point, if the stuff gets too much I would get irritated.” Ashwin comes to the defence of his hoarder saying, “Messy places are okay!” He justifies saying he does it too. But for Kritika it all comes down to the basics. “It’s depends on the kind of person he or she may be.” She says. And in the end, that’s what it all boils down to.

Dadu (Grandfather)

In Bengali, your mothers father is called ‘Dadu’ and mother – ‘Dida’. In a similar manner, your fathers father is called ‘Thakurda’ and mother ‘Thakuma’. However, for reasons unknown to me, my brother and I never used Thakuma or Thakurda. We always called my dad’s parents Dida and Dadu and my moms were Nani and Dumpa. 

Dadu was a most intriguing person. The man was a genius with a hatred for wastage. He was a retired engineer. Retired long before I or my brother were born. But his eagerness to fix things never left. He often restored the toys that we broke, telling us not to throw anything away but to use it. He’d probably make us use everything till they’d be nothing but dust. One time, after Diwali and Kali Pujo, Dadu told us he wants the burnt out remains of our sparklers. Obediently we made sure we collected the white hot metal sticks and presented them all to him. He was very pleased. He took them all and when we asked him what he wanted to do with them he’d look at us and say, “Dekhbe!” But we never did get to see because Dadu said the sticks were too short for what he was making. He never threw them away though.

The first pair of torn jeans, or rather, distressed jeans I ever had – sent all the way from Canada to me by my uncle – had some miniscule holes in the knee areas and a few rips. When I wore them and went to Dadu to show them off, he looked at me very concerned and told me, “Diye dao, ami shelai kore di.” (Give them to me, I’ll stitch them.) I was scandalised and had to quickly explain, “Na Dadu, eta ajkaal style!” (No Dadu, this is the style nowadays!) Dadu always made a face when I wore those jeans.

When I was much younger and had no school to go to, I would often eat breakfast with Dadu. He would eat cheera with milk and sometimes a banana. Whenever he ate the banana, he would wash it, peel it, and then with utmost care cut the fruit into pieces against the sharp edge of his stainless steel bowl. Then he’d take his spoon and scoop some of the cheera and milk onto it and eat, as well as feed me. Whenever he’d scoop up a banana piece as well, he’d tell me, “Eta-te byang aache.” (This one has a frog.) For some reason, this would tickle me greatly and I looked forward to the scoops with banana. I’d tell him, “Byang dao! Byang dao!” (Give me the frog!) Once all the ‘frogs’ were finished, Dadu had a hard time keeping me there to finish eating my meal. Dadu would hate too much dal on his plate when we ate. He would scold my grandmother if she put too much saying it was like his plate was a pond. He also managed to get me to eat my fish which I absolutely detested. He’d give me the tastiest bits and showed me this bone that looked like a duck.

In the evenings, Dadu would occasionally have puffed rice – moori – mixed with just a few drops of mustard oil Sometimes I’d sit with him and Dida and watch television while having some moori myself. The Bengali serials would play and we’d sit around the T.V. munching… Dadu also taught me to make little balls of my rice and curry to get me to eat it faster, it didn’t work but I now know how to make the Solar System with my food.

Dadu had his serious side. He was an intelligent man – the coveted engineer. He had already started balding by the time he asked for my grandmother’s hand. Dida told me once that he’d seen her in the balcony of her house with her long hair open and had fallen for her then. Dadu often looked grumpy. His mouth would be a perpetual frown but he wasn’t disgruntled. He just had that face. When he would lie on the bed on his stomach, clad in his white, cotton pyjama bottoms, reading his newspaper, my brother and I would scramble onto his back to play. We’d pretend he was a car and his raised feet and legs were a steering wheel and gear. Dadu would read the Bengali version of The Statesman while we did. Once I didn’t go to school, so Dadu and I got together and decided to have a picnic – in the bedroom of our house… We got biscuits and some other stuff like ‘jhuri-bhaja’ and of course, moori. Suddenly we realised that we had no water with us, so I told Dadu, “Darao.” (wait) and went to get water for us. Upon returning I saw Dadu, standing on the bed – his head nearly touching the fan. He looked at my confused face and said, “Darate bolli je!” (You asked me to stand) (Darao means both wait and stand in Bengali.) This was his rarely seen, less serious side.

Dadu was from Sylhet originally. During the partition his family moved from Bangladesh to India. I don’t know much about it, but we lost our ancestral home during the move – according to Dida it was a beautiful house.

Even to his last few days, Dadu was a very sharp minded man. In the hospital too, he once alerted a nurse to the fact that there was a bubble in his saline. He then proceeded to tell her, she should tap it so it’d go to the top and not enter his bloodstream. It was finally heart problems that took the man from us. I didn’t cry much when he passed. I think I didn’t really know how to react to having someone so close being taken from me for the first time. I don’t eat cheera and milk anymore. Fish and I are enemies once again. And Dadu, I miss him.