Skirt

She screams
She wails
But no one listens
Because she's the one at fault.
Bruised and beaten
Tainted and robbed
She was wearing a skirt.

The middle-aged man
With sinful eyes
Goes to the temple still.
It's not his fault
It wasn't assault
The girl was wearing a skirt.

Oh, was she raped?
Who'll marry her?
What a shameless brat!
The father of two
The abusive husband
Cut the respectable man some slack

Let's not call him a rapist
It'll ruin his life
After all, he was provoked.
The girl was asking for it
What else did she expect
Wearing that sinful skirt?

 

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Raw

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to something very raw: Anger. Rage. Crisis. A mixture. Do you happen to know how caged birds feel? Me neither. Do you happen to know how you feel? I don’t, but I also don’t know how I am feeling because I’m feeling a blend of different emotions. So let me take you through this… I don’t even know what induced this. It’s fresh. It’s still bubbling in me and it’s eating me up. But whatever it is, it’s burning.

Ever had something so wonderfully planned out in your head and you watch it go down in flames? It hurts so much to see your life degrade to ashes and dust. I’m not talking about a day out with your friends that went wrong. I’m talking about the love of my life. Readers, meet “writing”. Meet “literature”. You see, when I write, I feel different. I love that I can express the way I feel in words and watch other people relate. I love reading. I love the feeling it gives me. I love how it takes me to a whole different planet. I love how it helps me calm down and cope with everything. I have decided that if there is one thing that I can do for the rest of my life without murdering someone, that is writing. Yes, I include myself in the “someone”.

It’s a funny and long story. You see, I told people that I wanted to be a doctor when I was little – very little. Why? It made them happy and it made them proud. Then I grew up and as mind does with kids, aims changed. It changed from doctor to teacher to I don’t even remember, but it was a long list. In fifth grade, I began writing poems. They were horrible, but it made me happy. From grade eight, I began writing songs. I also wrote my first story. I loved reading books since I was a baby. I get emotionally attached to my books. Father used to buy me books for my birthday to the point where it wasn’t even a surprise. Soon, I began asking for books to the point where it wasn’t even a surprise. I guess I fell in love with writing somewhere along the way and I was just too blind or too stupid to realize it. After I graduated from grade ten, it was time to choose one: Science, Management or Humanities. I hate studying Science. I loathe it. I suck at it. I love Humanities and that was what I wanted to take. Still is. But there’s this really messed up belief. People who are studious are Science students, the average ones are Management and the hopeless are Humanities. It was highly unlikely that I would be able to take that up. So, I stuck to Management. Many would choose to become bankers. I’m just waiting to graduate so I can go study what I want. Sadly, I had spent the majority of my eleventh year chasing stupid things. I thought I should just stick to Management. I knew I couldn’t handle being a banker. It seemed too tedious. I went after Marketing, because it seemed creative. I did some research and guess what I chose? Content creator, because there was this tiny chance that I could write. I stuck with that for a whole year. One day, I had this realization. I realized that the only reason why I chose that was because I could write. I asked myself why I couldn’t write as my main thing. I didn’t answer. I couldn’t. I’ve never changed what I want in life since.

See, passion is a dangerous thing. It can kill you. It can rejuvenate you. It controls you. It makes you ecstatic. It defies gravity. It’s like you’ve found what you were meant to do. And that’s what’s dangerous. You can’t for the life of you even imagine yourself doing something else. Do you know how much it hurts? I can’t study the subjects that I want to here. I have to go to a foreign country, but my father won’t allow it. He says that going there for your undergrads is a mistake, that it’ll depress me. I don’t have to go to a foreign school to be depressed. I can do it right here, and you won’t even know, dad. If I stay here, I have to study IT. That’s not what I want. Maybe, dad, you won’t think it’s a big deal. Maybe you’ll think that I’ll get over this “craze”, but here’s the thing. I won’t. It’s what I love and I’m sorry if you can’t understand that. Truly. I don’t care if this ends up killing me, because the feeling it gives you, that serenity is worth it. You know what? Maybe this will all go to hell and I will end up stuck here studying something that is like torture to me and you won’t even know because I’ll be getting good grades. Long story short, maybe it’ll all be the same.

Twisted

I believe that you all know about sexual harassment. I’m not going to insert the dictionary definition. We’ve all known what it is since we were kids. We’ve known how to protect ourselves from its claws since even younger i.e. before we even knew what we were protecting ourselves from. It is said that we women live by a rape schedule. We have certain periods during a day when we refuse to get out of our houses. We have this unsaid rule that we should go out in pairs. We avoid certain places altogether. We carry everyday-items that we can use as some sort of weapon like safety pins. We stand in public transports in a way to minimize chances of getting harassed. We do many things (if not everything) with our safety in mind, consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously. Despite this, one in three women gets sexually assaulted. Maybe that’s the reason why the list of gadgets and techniques for women’s safety keeps increasing. But the question why we teach women not to get raped instead of teaching men not to rape is still unanswered. If any of you have been the one among the three, whether you took all precautions or not, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you had to face the consequences for someone else’s sins.

Maybe you have been sexually assaulted and have raised your voice. Maybe you have been and didn’t raise your voice. Maybe you have been and haven’t realized it. Maybe you haven’t. Similarly, maybe you know about the sexual harassment that school girls face. I am not going to talk about the one done by teachers. That, in case this article gets swerved in the wrong direction, is taken very strictly at St. Mary’s. This institution is a second home to us all. Our safety and our comfort is one of its major concerns. I am going to be talking about the harassment surrounding the school.

Maybe some of you had experiences like catcalling, following and even flashing when you’re on your way to school. Thank God I haven’t had any of those encounters, but that doesn’t mean that I have not heard horror stories. I have heard experiences that make the hairs on my arms stand on their end. I have read experiences that make my breathing heavy and make me see all black.

There was an incident in our school early October 2017. It reached the coordinator and then the Principal. If you do have to know, the incident was flashing. Luckily, it was caught on camera. Thank you, CCTV. As of now, while I’m writing this article, I do not know any more. I do hope the guilty gets what he deserves. I pray for it. But as a good friend of mine brought into my acknowledgement, everything happens for a reason. In this case, it was that the gruesome delinquent chose St. Mary’s. I don’t know how many other schools have CCTV surveillance, but we luckily did and that turned out to be of a lot of help. But the dreadful question lingers and echoes. How many? How many more school girls face this and don’t even have a sense of comfort? How many more face much worse? How many have been silenced? How many think it’s normal? How many have just accepted this creepy and criminal behavior under the influence of the wrongly used phrase “boys will be boys”? I’m scared to know because we live in a society where rape less serious and disgusting than a girl’s period.

There are many things that piss me off. I’m a hot-headed person. There are many things I don’t understand too. Like why it’s more shameful to get raped than be a rapist. Like why what I was wearing is of any concern to justify the actions of a disgusting man who had no self-control. Why we’re banished from seeing the beauty of the night when we’re not the ones who’ve done anything wrong. Why “like a girl” is an insult. Why they blame a woman’s attractiveness and beauty for getting raped. You see, when people say things like “YOU GOT RAPED!!!” in an informal manner, as a part of everyday slang, they don’t mean you’re attractive. They mean you got humiliated. That’s what it’s about. It’s not about sex. It’s not about finding someone attractive. Such inhuman sadists live off of the humiliation, the embarrassment and fear of others. Women are nothing more than objects to them. What’s sadder is that what happens to the victims is sometimes twisted in such a way that it makes them believe they were the ones holding the gun.

Questions like “What were you wearing?”, “Why were you out so late?”, “Why were you drinking?” and so many more that’s just exhausting are painful to hear. You see, when men drink, they’re usually expecting a hangover the nest morning. We women need to expect getting raped as well. We’re not safe no matter what. They’ll judge you by the length of your skirt and call you a boring prude when you try to satisfy them. It’s shameful that we love shopping, getting our nails done, other stereotypical girl things. But guys liking sports who are willing to sell their soul over some player are not termed crazy. Speaking of crazy, you know what else is? That if something or someone had a fan base made mostly of females, they’re automatically not good. They’re famous because they’re cute, which is funny because studies have proved that men tend to be the shallower sex. What’s crazy is that when women went on to share their experiences of violence, men were concerned not that women had to face this nightmare, but that it was giving them a bad name. Hence, the birth of “not all men”. What’s concerning is that men, when imagining a world in which women have equal rights imagine a world where women rule men. Given our history, I can’t blame their lack of imagination. What else is concerning is that when a woman comes forward about being in an abusive relation, the primal question is “Why is she still in it?” instead of “Why is this seemingly civilized human abusing her?” It’s because it’s not always easy to walk away. It’s not easy to come clean. We know to what extent “revenge” can reach. We’ve seen acid attacks, murder and events that look as if they belong in nothing else but horror movies happen. We know that maybe the criminal won’t even be one, but a dignified person who has a target on us. It’s easy to speak up when you have a shield. I’m worried about those who don’t have a voice, those who have a small voice that can be trampled by misogyny, guilt and blame. I’m worried about where this twisted society is headed and what’s in store for us.

Little Things

I don’t remember the exact date, but I do know that this happened at school. I think it was a Sunday and it was near home-time – the last period. I was returning to class from the washroom when I saw a sister pinning up some articles on the bulletin board. I go to a Catholic school and they put up articles of inspirational and moral articles on the board. It was painfully clear that she was having a hard time. She had to balance a few articles and a box of pins while simultaneously pinning an article up. I wondered if she needed any help. That is a stupid question. I know. But you see… Anxiety. I will question stuff and won’t even know what the questions are. It got to me when I had seen a lady carrying many really heavy shopping bags. I knew that I should’ve offered a hand, but I had held back. I don’t know why, but it kills me to this day.

Deciding that I didn’t need yet another experience to add to the list, I swallowed my apprehension and asked her if she needed any help. “Yes, I would actually”, she replied. And that was that. I helped her and I found out why she was having a hard time, The board was very stiff – very. She thanked me and that was that. That’s all.

I know it wasn’t an extraordinary event. I know that I didn’t do something huge and that there are kids dying in Africa. I’m not searching for applause. What I am saying is that pleasant events need not be extraordinary. Sometimes, they’re not even memorable. They don’t always make a grand entrance with gold and silver confetti, and huge speakers. They can sometimes be a good book and a warm cup of coffee on a rainy day. They can be a warm blanket. They can be the sun on your legs after winter. They can be anything.

I’d also like to point out that there must’ve been others who had passed her. That means that there were people who just watched and walked by, who were in a position to help, but didn’t even consider it. I know how some people may perceive this and no, I’m not trying to boast or search for applause because I’m so special. There’s nothing special about being a decent person. What I did was small; minuscule even. But here’s the thing. I have this belief that you have to be a good person-the best as much as you can. I believe that if you’re in a position to help, you should. Especially if you know that you would want them to do the same if the roles were reversed. It’s not complex. It’s not life-changing. This is just a gentle reminder that there are a million different ways that you can affect someone. Search up the word “sonder”. It’s beautiful. There are a million little ways that we can brighten someone’s day up as well as ruin it. I choose to brighten, because it matters to me who I am as a person. I don’t see a reason as to why you’d want to be the cause for pain.

Stay good, readers! Stay kind.

-Geek

 

Ghost

Sherlock had once said, “There are no ghosts. Save the ones we make for ourselves.” I will tell you one thing: I believe in paranormal activities. I believe in spirits, ghosts, God, the supernatural, everything. But clearly Sherlock didn’t. And I do somewhat agree with him. There are ghosts that go beyond the supernatural and reside deep in our minds. Life, as said by many, is a journey. It’s your story. And as you go on, grow older, you experience new things, new emotions, new feelings. You learn. Sadly, not all lessons are to be cherished. You can’t put every experience of yours in the same section with that of memories of wonderful days watching the cherry blossoms. Some, a few and maybe even many experiences go in a sealed box. They go in a strong vault. They’re the ones that stab you. They pierce you. They’re the ones you wish you didn’t have. They’re your ghosts. They haunt you. They may be wailing in their voice that makes your ears bleed from the top of the tower that you locked them in. They may follow you around, making you look back at them from time to time and giving you a well-practised  smile that reeks of fake innocence. They may even give you jump-scares. They may pounce onto you. Everybody has them. Nobody wants them. Some people need them.

I’ll tell you of my strongest ghost. She haunts me. Yes, she. Do I want her? No. Do I need her? Maybe. I won’t be dropping names. I can just say that she was named after a heavenly body. So bright, beautiful and completely wasted on her. She was manipulative. You would know of that months after she’s gone. And she’ll keep surprising you. The girl’s liquid. She’ll take any form that she may have to in order to fill an empty space in your life. But she’ll slowly seep through you. She’ll take control, or try to.

She’s pretty. But that wasn’t any of my concern. I don’t care what people look like, most of the time. So what lured me in? Her habits. Or maybe they were her facade, a play. See, she was playful. She was friendly and funny. That’s how she seemed in the beginning. She was so untouched by the hectic world. She seemed so pure. She seemed like a vacation from monotone. She didn’t seem like an appendage. She didn’t seem like a leech, to be honest. She didn’t look like a vampire. She seemed like sunshine, not a ball of fire. With her curly brown hair and giggles, with her skipping and immature nature, you get this sudden urge to protect her. Everything she says becomes true. Your brain flies out of the window of the topmost floor of a skyscraper. She’s one of those people to think that the world is against them and it exceeds teenage rebellion. You don’t even stop to think why she would think as such, if she really is a ball of sunshine and puppies? She can’t tolerate anyone who disagrees. She just has to be right. She just has to. And anyone who even talks about a compromise, who puts forward their opinion is “mean”, “fake” and her “enemy”. You’ll understand when you meet someone as such. I hope you stay in darkness.

She’s a good storyteller. She can have many versions of the same story. She can go on adding chapters. She can tell you things that you’d done that you yourself had no idea about. She can pontificate like hell. She also was a good actress. She acts like she’s so innocent. She acts like it’s all your fault. She acts like you’re insensitive, self-centered and selfish for thinking about yourself. She acts like you’ve committed a crime, murdered her. And you believe it because she’s just that good. You won’t even know when you’re being played. She’s the kind of person who’s going to make you apologise for things you shouldn’t and she’s going to use it against you. Once you care for someone, you can’t just stop. And once you realise that all this is an act, you slowly begin to stop caring for her. “Slowly” because like I’ve said before, you can’t just stop. You go in denial. You lie to yourself that there was some truth. And since she can’t let you, her spotlight just go, she accuses you. She tries to make you stay. She gets upset at you for making yourself your priority. She gets upset at you for wanting some time to process it all. She finds problems with everything because she wants to be with you all the time and you just need space. You’re just different individuals and she just can’t get that. She cries, because we’re all human and sentiment is our weakness. Because you’ll have to agree when she’s broken or she makes it seem like that. She expects you to change, to adapt according to her, but when you try to talk to her about what bothers you about her, she’ll accuse you of using her flaws against you.

But I’m not perfect either. Maybe I should have hugged her tighter. But she was pretending. She plays the victim fairly well. But I can’t stop feeling that maybe, just maybe if I had given her the closure, she would have stayed. And she wouldn’t be a ghost. She admires you. You don’t get that a lot. You don’t get an admirer, someone who fawns over you. But it’s only so long before reality bites you in the arse. You can’t always have time for make-believe and drama. You can’t always keep up with her melodramatic ways. You soon lose interest and can’t find the meaning or the reason behind all the letters, all the hour-long phonecalls. Soon, you get sick of making sacrifices that she doesn’t even acknowledge because they don’t reach her expectations. You get sick of her quotes and poetry line because sometimes you have a lot on your mind already and she never understands that. You get sick of hearing her say that she loves you, not to tell you how she feels, but solely to hear you say it back. You get sick of the lack of privacy. You get sick of how she manages to drag everyone into your mess. You hate how she won’t talk to you when you ask for space. You get sick how she gets butthurt at every little joke. You get sick of how she over analyses every word. You get sick of her constant want for attention. You get sick of it all. You just do.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m still bitter. I’m still angry. I always will be. She’s lied to me about many things. She’s lied to me about things I am very serious about. She’s lied to others about me, making up stories. And if I were to see her, there are two things that could happen. Either I’ll turn and walk the other way or I’ll go confront her. I don’t know what she’s doing now. I just hope that she knows better than to emotionally blackmail others. I think I needed her. I don’t want her, but I needed this experience. I needed this lesson to be stronger. This has taught me not to get carried away too much. This has taught me not to lie to others, no matter what. This has taught me a lot of things.

At First Sight

We believe in some things. We don’t believe in some things. It’s individual and it’s our choice. It’s the way we think and that’s one of the many things that make us unique. I think a lot. That’s how we introverts are. We think a lot and by ‘a lot’, I mean a freaking lot! But we don’t talk much. Not verbally, at least. One of the many such thoughts that has crossed my mind is a super romanticized topic. It is (cue drumroll) love at first sight. I’m just going to get straight down to the point and tell you that I do NOT believe in it. Not one bit. And this article will be me ranting on about why I don’t believe in it.

Love is a topic that is so ineffable that no words can actually describe it, yet we all have a rough idea about it. It’s a strong bond between two people that’s as intricate as our nervous systems. Humans have come a long way from caves. We’ve accomplished a lot and at times, it seems like we’ve conquered almost everything. It feels like we’ve got that control, but we don’t. Because no matter what, our feelings are always stronger. They demand to be felt and in their own time. They don’t book appointments. You can’t control the way you feel about someone. You can’t control the time it may take to get to know someone. You simply cannot merge the two. I think that you actually need to know a person really well in order to fall into a really deep hole lined with roses called love screaming their name. You cannot have this in one glance, a few seconds. Don’t even think that you can just accumulate months, if not years’ worth of memories, experiences in that short period of time because if impossible was 0, that would be (-1).

At the most, you may get a good look at the person and that’s not enough to make you fall for them. Maybe it’s enough to make you fall in love with their looks, but not the person. Looks are ephemeral and if looks are what you’re after, I hope that your love won’t fade away with time because looks do. Maybe you saw them for the first time when they were doing something that you found attractive. There is a difference between attraction and love; a huge one. You can think that you’ll fall in love, because love stems from attraction. But I don’t think that you can actually spend your life with someone if you don’t even know their name, their story. Don’t tell me that you think you’ll see fireworks exploding in background when you meet ‘The One’. You won’t. That electrifying touch, those sparks, the world fading into the distance, everything takes time. You need to get to know a person to form a connection.

What can you gather within one glance, one meeting? You won’t know their pet peeves, their dispositions. You won’t know that they just have to sleep on their left, or else they can’t fall asleep and that they turn over on their right as soon as they wake up. You won’t notice the way the heat rushes up to their cheeks when someone talks to them. You won’t notice the way they twirl their hair with their left ring finger. You won’t notice that they pull the sleeves of their shirt up a bit mid-conversation. You won’t notice that their left eye is a lazy eye. You won’t know the meaning behind their tattoo if you see it. You won’t notice how they occasionally lick their lips. You won’t know that they keep a journal. You won’t know how animated they look when they rant. You won’t notice how frequently they reach for water and you won’t notice that they open it with their thumb and middle finger. You won’t know that they hate wet bathroom floors and sand between their toes. You won’t know that they love lockets and bracelets and strongly dislike cold coffee. You won’t notice how they softly drum their fingers against the table.  You won’t realize that they suck their cheeks in when anticipating something. You won’t know that they love sketching and their textbooks are filled with doodles. You won’t know that they’re a horrible bathroom singer. You won’t know the way their eyes light up when they’re doing something that they’re passionate about and you won’t even know what they’re passionate about. You won’t know how some things in life have hurt them. You won’t know that they’re still learning how to cook, how to do laundry. You won’t know them. You won’t know the little things that make them.

Love is a really strong word. It’s intense. It can mend or break. So don’t just throw it around like that. We want everything instant- instant food, instant results, instant fortune, instant everything. But I’ve said this before and I’m saying this again: You can’t speed it up. Things happen in their own course of time and this includes love. It may be months for some and years for others. Love is not a bowl of Ramen. You can’t expect it to ready for you when you’re hungry, two minutes after you pour some hot water. Love takes time, dedication, effort, commitment, your everything. It’ll happen when it has to. Don’t try so hard because when you meet the right person, you’ll be doing everything you have to. It’ll hit you like your heartbeat, like the smell of their perfume. You’ll just know.

Observations

It shouldn’t come off as a surprise that I adore you. I hope that it doesn’t come off as creepy. I’ve been watching you for quite some time. I didn’t realize it at first either. You were just another human to me. Then I began noticing you, your face. I became familiar with your habits, your dispositions, you. We talked and I have discovered that you don’t like coffee. You prefer black tea with two cubes of sugar. I began hearing this element in your voice that sounded like freshly dried leaves getting crushed under my boot in Autumn as the faint scent of pumpkin and pine-cones lingers in the air. I think I also detected a high note of the pianoforte. I still do.

I have noticed the way you smile. A little pout that slowly transitions into a gorgeous grin. I have noticed that your right dimple is a bit deeper than your left one. I have also noticed that you always put a book back in its original place on the shelf and how you always run your fingers along its spine. Always. I have also noticed how you drag your fingers along almost all surfaces, like you want to memorize the feel of it. You drag them along walls, tables, coats, window sills, blinds, everything. I still remember the first time I had caught myself smiling as you were unconsciously doing this. I realized that I saw flowers stemming from the trail you left. They were white aubretias and had a few colourful butterflies hovering over them. Just how you like it.

I know that you probably don’t even know this, but you bite your lips at specific times. You bite your lip just before you lie. You bite your lip when there’s a suspenseful scene in a show that you’re watching. Then after the suspense is over, it turns either  into an audible gasp or a disappointed sigh. There’s no in-between. I don’t know if there’s a beyond, for you never cease to surprise me. Another habit of yours is running your hands through your hair. You comb through twice then flip your hair once. Usually you flip your hair to your left. You do this at random times.

You have got this thing for socks. Correction! Colourful socks. It’s a plus-one if they’re fluffy. I’ll never forget that look of sheer joy that so prominently crosses your face as you slide across the hardwood floor in those fluffy socks. The first time I had seen you in this form, you were wearing your fluffy blue socks with pandas on them. You’re goofy. You know that. I know that. And I love that it’s a secret that’ll remain between us two. It’s like this veiled side of yours that’s only for my eyes to see.

You have many comfortable positions to sit in. One of my favourites is when you sit with one foot on the other. Most of the time, it’s left at the bottom and right at the top. I wonder how the weight of one foot does not squish the other. Then again, you’re a bag of miracles. Do you know that you shake your leg? Most of the times, it’s your right leg. This, you do completely out of the blue. You just need to be sitting still for sometime. You don’t even need to be nervous or bored or anything. And you blush when someones points out this habit of yours. You utter a quick and shy apology and look down and fiddle with your hands and play with your fingers. I know that you’re not genuinely hurt or embarrassed because you cannot contain that contagious smile of yours. Then after approximately four seconds of you looking down and playing with your fingers, you look up at the person through your eyelashes and after two seconds, you chuckle and look up to face them. I know this because I’ve been that person many times. I’ve been that person to look into your eyes on multiple occasions, not just when you blush and look at me.

I think I recognized the nonchalant beauty in your orbs when I was playing with your hair as you laid your head on my lap and looked at me and smiled. That smile reached your eyes and they crinkled a bit. It always does. Your eyes are like thousands of sunsets all lapsed into one.  They are like all our shenanigans, our memories in a jar like fireflies. It seems like Aphrodite and Venus held hands and joined hearts to carve you out and Jupiter sprinkled his gems all over you like raindrops. Your eyes are like the eye of the storm. There’s so much going on, yet they’re always calm. You’re like my eye of the storm. You’re my calm when I’m surrounded by chaos and that makes you all the more beautiful, all the more special. Every moment that I spend with you, every second that you have your around me, have my hand in yours is treasured by me. It’s engraved into my memory, my brain, my heart like our initials engraved into the trunk of that oak. And when I’m with you, I’ve observed that every storm just seems to blow over and I see art in suffering, I see the light at the other end. You make me strong. You make me love you more everyday. The things you do make me realize how blessed I am. Everything does.