Log in

Worthy, maybe

I've seen it before and know how it feels,
all the chills and easy thrills.
You are you, I am a whole lot of shit
cut me up, you might find you in it.

Clean as dawn, you're bright as dew,
take my clutter, I'll have you all new.
You have your youth I have my will,
We'll burn some roads, build a landfill.

Hold me tight, it's a fool's race,
Know me, and know my space.
Because I have known this to end, time and again,
let's just dive in headfirst ignoring the shallow end.

Dear reader, Tony betrayed me.

They say children don’t listen to adults; it’s true.
As a 10-year-old in boarding school, I spent my short breaks from school with my uncle who lived close to school. He taught me to always leave all the lights, and air-conditioner switched off. He introduced soup in my life, which has now become the only joy of my life. But he also tried to teach me mathematics and failed. I remember surviving the 42 degree Celsius heat watching “Whose Line Is It Anyway” and MTV with him and his friends in his two-room apartment. Once at dinner at his friend’s place, she introduced me to Nutella – god bless her.

As a pre-teen, there was nothing much I wanted to do besides read my books and listen to my favourite musicians. You see, in school we HAD to take part in everything—I did well in sports, won an essay-writing competition, nailed quizzes, lip-synced when the choir was a member short, literally became the laugh track for a play, and among many other forced extra-curricular activities, I also danced as a “lady” in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” which was rare for two reasons—they always gave me male parts it being a girls only school and me being slightly taller than most, and I don’t remember any ballroom dancing in the original story.

All the pressure in school of becoming a “well-rounded student” was stored in my suitcase once I was away on winter or summer vacation as I spent all my long breaks bumming at home or my grandparents’ home watching crap television and reading comic books and magazines like GQ and National Geographic from my uncle’s massive pile of books.
Impressed by the majesty of the photographs in Nat Geo and realizing I couldn’t sing to save a life, not even if Eddie Vedder trained me—though I still live in hope—I thought I’d give photography a shot.

Kids, remember that this was before the digital camera boom happened. My parents were iffy but relented knowing I had no other interests in life and bought me a Nikon camera, lenses, tripod and lessons. I went to ask my uncle if he knew anyone who could bring me the camera I wanted because as far as I knew they weren’t available in the market. Delighted with my sudden curiosity to actually learn something, he called a friend who ended up making the purchase for me.

Anyway, I was going through his books to find something to read when he recommended “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk. I’d never heard of Pamuk, and the name of the book gave me PTSD from all the other 700-page books I’d read. But I thought, why not? If I can survive books with a multitude of characters, their own plots, sub-plots, “Snow” wouldn’t hurt. It didn’t. I wouldn’t rate it as my favourite Pamuk, but it’s third or fourth in the list.

You see, this was back in the early-Noughties. Today in 2015, I can confess to not having returned his copies of Ian McEwan's "On Chesil Beach" and an Iris Murdoch novel because I love the McEwan and (still) plan on reading the Murdoch novel.

My uncle also had a lot of magazines because he travelled a lot and needed ways to kill time waiting in shitty airport lounges. I stumbled upon an edition of American GQ because there was a young Will Smith wearing a (I think) beige sweater on the cover - the interview detailed how Smith was the "only Black actor white people weren't afraid of". Before this, I thought magazines were (fun) gossip rags detailing the highs and falls of celebrities (actual stars not your dime-a-dozen, cheap-joke-spouting reality stars), but this was an exciting plug. I also discovered Dorothy L. Sayers, and RuPaul who I fell in love with. (Side note: My cousin wishes to be adopted by Ru or any other equally magnificent drag queen).

Another great article I read was about a young writer dressed in a black, leather jacket who was influenced by Nathaniel Hawthorne in that he too learnt from the great American the art of, and I paraphrase, writing sleight of hand. The leather jacket man said he, like Hawthorne, masked family shame in his writings. My little MTV-numbed brain woke up.

You see, the English we were taught in school was shit. In this country they say the French you learn in classes can’t help you in France. The same applies to the English we were taught. You were left to your own devices. If you were interested in the strangest hodge-podge of stories and poems (Charles Dickens, Saki, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Christina Rosetti, Odgen Nash, William obviously Shakespeare etc) you might make it—in that these writers may cultivate your own curiosity in books and story-telling. I survived. For this, I thank my mother for all the books she bought me—Secret Seven comic books, Batman comics, Jane Eyre, The Illustrated Bible, Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie among others, and a great English teacher whose insight, knowledge and kindness made me take the unwritten “English is for me” vow. To summate, you’re alone in this shit, asshole.

One day, while waiting in an airport I spent a huge sum of money on a copy of British GQ - I don't know why. It had the usual polished photo-shoots of female achievers in barely nothing and male models weirdly dressed for the Arctic in summer hotspots, gadgetry that "GQ readers liked," interviews with inane politicians and the surprise of it all – the Tony Parsons column. Since then, I have loved his columns and him. It takes some writers 800 pages what Parsons manages in less than 4,000 words or so. His prose bursts with the voices that enriched him as a regular Joe.

Many years later, I was on a beach holiday browsing the local markets when I came across a ratty, little bookstore. The salesperson told me that many of the books were left behind by tourists or swapped for money. Marauding through the dusty old books I found a book by Tony Parsons. This is where the love story ends. What Charlotte Bronte inspired in me and Parsons nurtured was shat upon with the fury of a merciless diarrhea of mediocrity that was “One for my baby”. This isn’t the reader as a hater. This is the reader as disappointed in one of her favourite writers. Needless to say, Parsons ruined my holiday. I am still in recovery. It helps that he’s still churning out good stuff in the old rag. Will I read another book by Parsons? Maybe. But my summation is clear.

Dear reader, Tony betrayed me.

P.S. I started this as a Goodreads review but maybe the aforementioned diarrhea is me. I still love you, Tony.

Admit one

I told myself you never left,
Nor that you are back,
One for one,
One by one,
Far but
Admitting is tough
Accepting is harder
You make things difficult, when
I try to make it easy to get by


We drink to our failures,
And cry at shameful conquests,
Old friend, gilded past of mine,
In protected shadows you lurk,
Forlorn we walk

The exalted silence of our old songs
Reverberates in the consuming hollow currents.
Now our drowned voices
Refrain from asking

I trembled when your lips pursed,
You noticed that I turned away,
The uncomfortable assurance of doom,
The frailty of a vow.

Here he comes,
The bold knight of fear
Defeating us in showboating abandon

I stand solo,
But my hands clutch
The gossamer threads from our spindle,
I pull until I hear it break,
We're free, but never alone

Your silhouette slowly fades,
I smile,
I dissolve,
The knight rises again

Photo: Fine Art America

My name is Tristan/Losing my religion

I think I am having a breakdown. I function without help. I manage without people. I thrive on anger. I resist love. No, I abhor love. I dislike physical pain. Emotional pain, don’t even get me started. I have a lot of free time. I don’t have enough time to read books. I want to do so much. I hate my job but I have no money. All is okay. But I can’t function. I don’t remember the last time I laughed without someone else asking me too. I hate people asking me to smile for photographs.
I don’t remember the last time I met someone who was generous. I don’t remember the last smart person. I am listening to dreamy, romantic, mythological music-go Patrick Wolf- but my heart will not explode. Even music has failed to move me. I have failed music. But whoever expected anything from blackness.
I hate that I expect so much from myself but I know that I don’t do anything. Some say fear is good and that it shouldn’t be unnecessarily defeated or erased. It keeps one vulnerable and without feeling, one can’t live. I destroyed the last thread of sentiment in me.
It’s March now. I turn 30 soon. I think I am having a panic attack. I wish I were dead.
Everyone bores me.

The fear of a dream coming true

See the World like you do,
Step on the same dents of the cobblestoned path
Your well-worn boots once braved,
Watch me dance in the last light of the day,
Stare at a sea of nameless disposable faces like how we used to love… That’s just it my darling, if only it had no hurt.
Smile a little, I’ll push back
Cross my path and I’ll still push back

Writer's Block: Growing pains

What was the biggest lesson learned from your adolescence?

Everyone's a fool!

Writer's Block: Parlez-vous francais?

What other foreign languages do you know? Which one(s) do you want to learn?

French, please. Perhaps even an extinct, ancient language to piss off people. :)

Foliage verbiage

We were clouds you said
Painted in a pale blue,
I wanted the sadness of a pale lily,
But I woke up to find daffodils,

All the hopeful, blank pages
Exchanged in our blissful naiveté,
Starkly remind we only remain
Words and empty spaces,

I gave up,
But you stopped,
Now, in two mantles stand,
What’s left of crushed, dead flowers.

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/btownutterback

For The Faithful Departed

I was seven or eight when apu was with his friends in his study. A group of family members and friends huddled around him singing old Kuki songs while another played an instrument, which looked like a gong. My naïve and impatient mind thought the songs were boring and I quickly moved away. A few years later when I was pottering around in his study, he showed me some hundred tapes with recordings of the same old boring songs. On asking why he liked them, let alone taped them, apu said most of the songs were part of a dying culture. I nodded and moved out of the room.

Apu wasn't like my comparatively warm and openly loving grandmother. He was never the kind to hug people everyday but he always listened to the radio when my mother was on air; he never bought me chocolates or candy bars but always ensured plates of healthy fruits were finished off; I don't remember him teaching me from my books but he always asked me to read the newspapers, English and Manipuri included. Apu always seemed mysterious to me. He was either with api in the study or with his children or friends. I often wondered how much time a person could spend cooped in a room. But then he authored books on Kuki folk stories that had only been previously treasured through word-of-mouth. His books, to me, always remind me of him and not just because he wrote them. Like the books, my grandpa was cultured, forward-thinking, intelligent and heritage-proud.

If I had known him as just a public figure, I would have been a fan for his progressive ways. He has six daughters and one son, all of whom I look up to for many reasons. But as his granddaughter, I think I'd be blessed if I inherited even just one of his few outstanding qualities.