Voice

Yes I have a big voice,

No I’m not proud.

I’m a five year old girl.

Mumma told me not to speak,

Pappa told me, no true woman is loud.

Grandma told me,

“It isn’t lady-like.”

I didn’t understand.

 

Yes I have a big voice,

No I’m not proud.

I’m a ten year old girl.

My whole school shushed me.

“I got excited, I’m sorry!”

But it didn’t save me,

From being the embarrassment.

 

Yes I have a big voice,

No I’m not proud.

I’m a fifteen year old girl,

Too scared to speak a word.

Maybe I’d be too loud,

Be the embarrassment I’m afraid of being.

I got so quiet,

I don’t have a friend around.

 

Yes, I have a big voice

No, I don’t care.

I’m an eighteen year old girl,

And I’ve learned,

A woman with a big voice?

I’m not the only one.

We’re fighters,

We aren’t unique.

I won’t shut up,

I’ve found people who don’t mind.

 

This big voice,

I use it for all the right causes,

So don’t you tell me to shut up.

Yes I have a big voice,

And yes,

I’m proud.

 

The Danger of A Single Story

“How old are you?”, the older woman asked.

“Ten”, said the scraggy girl.

“Ah! Little children won’t get it.”

Dear older woman,

That ten year old girl,

Works at the restaurant near your house,

Cleaning bathroom stalls,

Dealing with men objectifying her,

She’s seen more than you have,

On your vacations funded by ‘daddy.’

Is age but just a number?

 

“You’re lucky you’re fair,

Your skin tone’s great!”

All that aside,

She was called ‘yellow’,

For her relatively small eyes,

But she was Indian too.

Is she not human,

Her looks put aside?

 

“Africa this, Africa that”

Does one fail to realize that Africa,

Is a continent,

With fifty-four different countries,

The people patriotic,

But wanting to be recognized,

As something more,

Than just an African.

 

Dear boy who supports the queer,

Quite ironic you say so,

When ten minutes ago,

You used a homophobic slur,

And called someone gay,

For not being a stereotypical boy.

Does going against the stereotype,

And being oneself make you gay?

Perhaps if you meant ‘gay’ to be ‘happy’,

Then you’re absolutely correct.

 

Her dresses were baggy,

And maybe terribly long,

But did they consider,

Her having an oppressive father,

Where all she wanted to do,

Was cover the marks,

She was willing to forget.

The galaxies on her skin,

Caused by havoc and not pleasure?

 

‘Slut’, this one was called.

They didn’t understand that,

All those times,

She was an innocent girl,

A hopeless romantic,

Too trusting for her own good,

But was taken advantage of.

Suddenly, saying ‘no’ meant,

Trying harder and being forceful.

Suddenly, ‘No’ meant,

She was asking for it.

 

They saw the hijab,

A quick judgment made.

‘Terrorist’, she was labeled.

Funny how four letters,

I,S,I,S,

Ruined the reputation of one religion ,

When in actuality,

The people of that very religion,

Fear and are against that very organization,

Defaming their innocent faith.

 

Stereotypes,

They’re nothing but a single story unexplained.

 

 

 

The Truth About Death.

The current mood at home, made me want to put my feelings, or rather, lack of feelings into words. In the past 4 years, a significant number of deaths have occurred in my family, and currently, an aunt(My mother’s sister) of mine is terminally ill of sorts. Now, the normal reaction these statements would garner are sympathy, and in rare cases, the label, “Attention seeker.” And the normal reaction expected of me, would be; utter disbelief, sadness, worry, angst and perhaps even anger. However, I felt none of these. It’s not easy to be understood in a world built on values and norms; In a world where grieving one’s death is normal; In a world and in a family where I’m always expected to feel upset over someone’s death. For instance, I’ve been ‘shut up’ before, simply because I wasn’t sympathetic or empathetic when a family member died recently. But I cannot help feeling the way I do. My feelings are my own to feel, and nothing can change that. And this post is about how I feel about death, life and everything in between.

I’ve been brought up, knowing people die, especially when they’re old. Nevertheless, people die. People die in all kinds of ways. They die eating, they die in their sleep, hell, they even die standing. People die. Hard fact, but it’s the truth. Unfortunately, as a child, I’ve felt everything I could ever feel about death. I feared it. I hated that it could take people I love, away. At one point, I craved it. And finally, I accepted it. 7th grade was the first time I was exposed to the death of a person I held very dear to my heart. My grandmother. She was a cheerful, small lady, who loved every family member of hers with all her heart. She was a jolly woman and lived a long life of 94 years. I wasn’t oblivious to the fact that she was nearing her death, what with her being 94. Hence when the day came, where she was very ill and her heart was giving out, I had already known that these breaths, could be her very last. When the day finally came, where she was no more, I didn’t shed a single tear. My mother however assumed I was going to self harm or kill myself because she thought I wasn’t mature enough to handle the news of a loved one’s death. But that’s where she was wrong. I didn’t think or feel anything when I heard she had passed. The one thought that ran through my mind was, “Well, everyone dies. She was 94 so it wasn’t unexpected. I loved her. But now, the inevitable has come to be. And I’m fine with that. I don’t understand why people don’t understand that I’m never going to be affected by this.”

Nobody ever understood how I felt. They always thought; I was a kid and didn’t understand what was going on; And that later, it might hit me like a truck and suddenly I’ll be bent-double, crying my heart out. It’s been years, and I’ve never thought in any other way about her death. No I’m not being insensitive. I just don’t feel that way. Death after death, the creature followed the members of my family. Perhaps secretly looming around in their shadows. And again, the same thoughts run through my mind, “Everyone dies. I loved them. But  my love can’t keep them alive, because death is inevitable, And I can’t change that. I will die, everyone I know will die. But this isn’t for me to control and I’m okay with that.”

My aunt, who is currently ill, was born with a birth defect, Spina Bifida. She was born, back when technology wasn’t really at it’s best in this country hence the complications that followed were not only brutal, but they were expected. Her kidneys recently gave out, she cannot walk and many other such issues persist, ever since she was born.  These recent events are no surprise, and are definitely unfortunate, but like I said, not unexpected. Such views, of rationality and lack of empathy were not welcomed. But all this only made me question, why do we try so hard to keep others alive? Why do we try to keep them alive when they are going through so much pain, to lead their life which has now been extended? Why do we cling on to life, when we know of our pain? And finally, why do we insist on keeping them alive, when doing so is extraordinarily tough? She has 3 dialysis sessions a week, multiple surgeries in a week, a test every day, why do we try to live with such pain? I never understood and I still can’t understand. No, it isn’t my place to decide who dies or who doesn’t, I’m only trying to understand, but no one deserves that amount of pain. No one deserves a life where their family(Not I, but a few members), behind their back, finds them as a stressor, another load to carry on their shoulders. Of course they love her, which is why they try and keep her alive(aside from the fact that she’d like to live)but there are new complications popping up every day or every week and one can only take so much. All this leads me to think— Us humans are truly fascinating creatures with a strong survival instinct, for reasons unknown. Again, I’m not being insensitive and it isn’t that I do not care for her, I am like the daughter she never had because that is how much we had in common, but my thoughts always take over my being as I remember the obvious, “Everyone dies. I love her very much. But these could be her last few days, and that is alright, because death is inevitable.”

To me, there is no life without death; And there is no death without life. From what I remember about myself, when I was very young as compared to now, I always questioned anything and everything. No, I wasn’t stubborn where I’d question why I should follow my mum’s orders, but I questioned a lot. I would ask, who is god? Does he exist? Who decide what is bad and what is good? What truly is evil, or truly is good? What is life? Why was I born? I especially dwelled on the, ‘What is life, what is it’s point and why am I here?” question a lot. Upon continuous thinking/ contemplation during what I’d like to call my, ‘solitary time’ or ‘alone time’, or ‘me time’— I decided, there is no point to life. We didn’t come here with a purpose. We are here because that is how nature works. Evolution took place, and here we are, humans! Perhaps our sole purpose could be, balancing the food chain or help achieve ecological balance. But we’re too far into destruction to let that be our purpose. Us humans, have a well-developed brain with advanced cognitive functions, so we think, and are perceptual. We gave our lives meaning, the meanings differ from person to person, but nonetheless, gave our lives meaning. We brought about religions— a set of rules for us all to live in harmony. For us to live comfortably, not being of any inconvenience to others too. All this, maybe because nobody wants to live with the idea that the lives we lead are pointless, because then, a lot of the things in our world wouldn’t exist, and it is that intrinsic drive that I find so very beautiful. For if it wasn’t there, then life would be blatantly pointless.

For those who still do not understand why life, in my opinion, is pointless if we really think about it— it is, because regardless of what you do now, everything eventually leads to your death, and that’s it. No one knows about life after death or anything of that sort, but after a point(no pun intended), death is the eventual event. The finale. There is no happy ending, like at the end of a book where the author ends with a, “And they live happily ever after.” Because let’s face it, we don’t. We die. Morbid, but true. Hence, I find it hard to miss people when they die, or think twice about their death because that’s just how things go about. Death is inevitable, and I can’t change that. None of us can. However, with all that we have today, life is worth living for the wonders of the world, and death after satisfying the intrinsic drive is perhaps  anyone and everyone’s ultimate goal and hence the creation of ‘Bucket List’s. But the inconvenience of my thinking about life and the point of it all, as a friend once pointed out, is that I will always know that my life doesn’t necessarily have a true purpose. Maybe I’d leave a legacy behind, maybe not. Maybe I’ll have a huge impact on people, maybe not. But the true purpose of life, I will never believe in, yet I will enjoy this one life I’ve got for there is much to learn and discover, and I will welcome death when it is time.

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This post is simply my opinion, my views and my thoughts. I’m terrible at framing sentences but I gave it my best anyways. This post was not written to shit on people’s beliefs in god, religion, purpose of life etc. Feel free to disagree because, I respect people and their views and have nothing against it all. (Unless they’re homophobic, transphobic, racist, discriminatory, islamophobic etc. Then I have a real problem with them.)

these thoughts on the point of life, I’ve had even before being exposed to the philosophers and authors who preached existentialism, like Nietzsche. I guess reading more, HAS widened my view and perspective on everything though.

P.p.s. I did not proof read because I never do. Lethargy is my go-to mood anyways, so yeah. The redundancy is intentional. I was somehow trying to infuse poetry into this post because, why not?

Distortion.

In a gallery, laced with white walls.

White walls decorated with squares of different sizes.

The squares of different sizes, with works of art enclosed in them.

Works of art, showing distorted faces.

The crowd stared at it. Contended, they smiled smiles, showing how emotionally linked they were to the pieces.

The artist, who stood distant from the crowd, smirked a knowing smirk. Of course everyone of them related to distorted faces.

The crowd, as expected by the artist, seemed reminiscent of all their flaws, be it mental or physical. Somehow, they all seemed so unsatisfied with some part of themselves as they stared at these paintings, as if someone acknowledged and accepted these flaws.

‘Society’. “‘Society’ is to blame!”, their minds yelled in unison. And with that, they went back to simply admiring the work.

The artist smiled pitifully at the crowd. His conscience ranting, going off about how, “It’s so very sad that today, they relate so well and find solace in art with distorted beings painted across the canvas. When they who gaze upon such work so admiringly, look perfectly normal. No eyes replacing noses, no oddly shaped faces, limbs which look perfectly fine and functional. And all they do is look at themselves in these paintings, feeling insecure, thinking that this is how society sees them –flawed.

And yet what they haven’t noticed is that they are very much part of this society that they blame, as if it was some external force they were never part of. They never realise that eventually, it’s in their hands to change views, to turn heads, and to trigger, in people, the need to question. It’s all in our hands.”

The artist couldn’t agree more. Yet, like everyone else, he chose to stay silent about it.

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Yes, hi-hello. This is me, not being silent.